Data portability (the ability to transfer data without affecting its content) and interoperability (the ability to integrate two or more datasets) significantly affect the use of data, with important implications for antitrust policy. Allowing for improved data portability can facilitate the ability of consumers to switch services, which would substantially increase competition. However, barriers to data portability can increase market power and be a major source of social inefficiency. This paper lays out the pros and cons of a move towards requirements of data interoperability and portability. Of further note is the need to account for the fact that increasing the scale and scope of data analysis can create negative externalities in the form of better profiling, increased harms to privacy, and cybersecurity risks.
By Daniel L. Rubinfeld1
Data is an essential raw material in our economy. Predictions based on relationships identified in data affect numerous aspects of our lives, yet much of this data is collected in a world that is largely modular.2 To illustrate, it is predicted that by 2025 seventy-five billion Internet of Things devices, controlled by numerous market players, will be connected to the internet, collecting and using data.3 Furthermore, for those concerned about privacy, data lie at the core of personal profiling in all of our social networking sites.
In each and every case, data portability (the ability to transfer data without...