Data portability has a hybrid nature. What emerged as a data protection concept is now also becoming part of policies aiming to stimulate competition and innovation. To reap the full benefits of data portability, this article argues that there is a need for regulators to steer its implementation and to provide guidance on how data controllers should handle tensions between different interests and overlapping legal entitlements. Data portability can empower individuals and business users to make better choices but more asymmetric enforcement is needed to ensure that data portability will stimulate competition. And as a tool to promote data-driven innovation, data portability is a necessary but probably not a sufficient condition to keep data-driven markets open to newcomers.

By Inge Graef1



The concept of data portability has been heralded as a key enabler of consumer empowerment, competition and innovation. Despite its potential, data portability does not seem to have had the impact yet it was expected to have. Against this background, this article explores the opportunities as well as limits of data portability and provides suggestions to make data portability more effective – both as a data protection concept and as a tool for stimulating competition and innovation.

To reap its full potential, this article submits that there is a need for regulators to steer the implementation of the right to data portability in the General Data Protection Reg


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