There has been a lot of debate and discussions about data security in the last few months. From Facebook’s privacy breach scandal to the implementation of the path-breaking data protection rule, GDPR, data security, and online privacy has been on everyone’s minds. Internet users have come to realize that no matter where in the world they are, their online data is never completely safe.
New Data Portability Project Causes Privacy Concerns
Data Transfer Project in the Pipeline
The threat is even greater for social media users. While the use of social media was once thought to be useful and engaging, now the fear of privacy breach haunts everyone.
As if social media and tech companies haven’t caused enough data security breaches already, there is now a new project in the pipeline called the data transfer project. The companies taking part in this project are the usual suspects – Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter.
Spokespersons for these leading tech companies announced last week about the partnership called the Data Transfer Project (DTP). The project is designed for data portability between cloud platforms. But cybersecurity experts fear that the project may have privacy implications.
Global Data Portability
The new project that has been announced involves tools to convert any proprietary API to and from standardized data formats to general formats that can be used by anyone. This allows seamless data transfer between services.
For instance, Google’s data can be transferred to Twitter, and Facebook’s data to Microsoft, and so on.
In the beginning, the only APIs that can be used for data transfer are the ones available publicly from Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, SmugMug, and Remember the Milk.
The project framework has been designed to allow seamless data transfer with user consent for a wide variety of data like photos, emails, contacts, calendars, and tasks.
The aim is to create a single, open-source framework that will allow users to directly transfer data from one service to another, without the need to download and re-upload it. This should make data transfer possible between any two services using existing infrastructure and authorization tools, such as OAuth.
The Benefits of Data Portability Project
There can be several benefits of this framework. The portability will allow users to easily move their data from one service to another without worrying downloads, uploads, and complicated steps. For instance, if you are moving your blog from Google to another platform, the data transfer project will make the move easier without the loss of data.
It should also make data backups easier. Microsoft believes that interoperability and portability are essential elements of cloud innovation, as mentioned in a blog post.
The data transfer project will not only make data backup easier but also allow faster organization of important information across different accounts, recover data more quickly after hacks and other security attacks, and also retrieve information older services.
The project will also enable consent-based sharing of consumer data, while giving consumers more power to manage the data that companies collect.
Because the project is open source, it is possible for anyone to inspect the code and verify if data is being used for purposes other than is disclosed.
In a blog post, Google laid down the security requirements of the portability. Services must first agree to allow data transfer between them, and also require the users to authenticate each account independently.
All data will be encrypted, and a new key code is generated for each transfer. Additionally, the framework allows partners to support any authorization mechanism they choose. This allows partners to make sure of their existing security framework when authorizing accounts.
The Looming Concerns
Although it is easy to grant one service access to the data in another service, it isn’t easy to remove the access. This means every time you grant a new service access to another service, you are just increasing the number of places where your data is stored.
This also heightens the risk of privacy breaches and misuse of data, because once you transfer data from one service to another, there’s no guarantee the data will be deleted from the source.
When data from one service is transferred to another, there is every chance for the information to end up in places where it isn’t private. Some people also believe that since the DTP requires a high degree of compliance, it will teach tech companies to be more responsible and accountable.
If there is a data breach in the DTP, every party involved will be blamed, and the GDPR could place big fines on each of the party involved but GDPR is controversial and stifles freedom and creativity. The fear of penalties may lead tech companies to act more maturely.
However, experts are of the opinion that the data transfer project has more perils than rewards for the consumer. The Data Transfer Project could be a sound plan but it is unclear yet. Tech companies need to stop supporting socialist policies – this is what is worrying so many people and trump the concern of the Data Transfer Project.
Privacy matters but it is ironic that the same people screaming about privacy are the same people spitting out their garbage about where they go and what they like to everyone who will listen!
VPNs provide an invaluable service
No doubt though VPNs are vital. No one wants big government to spy on them. And governments who want to stifle freedom of thought and freedom of expression, they should be fought against. But it isn’t just these regimes you should worry about. Big corporations like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are after your data and it’s your responsibility to take make sure this private data is kept as secure as possible.