Facebook and Data Portability: Q&A with DataPortability.org Chairperson Chris Saad

When Facebook joined the DataPortability.org Workgroup a few weeks ago, the press described the move both as a “bombshell” as well as “brilliant PR”. In order to understand what Facebook’s decision to join actually means a little bit better, I spoke with Chris Saad, Co-Founder and Chairperson of DataPortability.org.

IF: What does it mean for companies like Facebook to “join” DataPortability.org?

CS: It means they agree to engage in the conversation and work towards a blueprint for maximum interoperability between applications.

IF: Has Facebook promised to implement any particular functionality by any particular time?

CS: Not yet – but once the blueprint is done we can then start asking vendors to implement things. Many other vendors have already moved quickly – in the last few weeks and months lots of vendors have been implementing OpenID, etc – these things are not unrelated.

IF: How has Facebook explained their interest in joining?

CS: They are interested in representing their users and their agenda in the conversation to make sure the solution is compatible with their needs.

IF: Who controls the direction of DataPortability.org?

CS: DataPortability is managed like a wiki – participants step up to the plate and just get things done. Some of the most active participants join the Steering group to help set the direction.

IF: What do you expect to be achieved within the next 1-2 years?

CS: We will have the blueprint done, and vendors starting to implement it. The size and scope of implementation will depend on continued public and media pressure to get the job done!

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