Power.com Countersues Facebook Over Data Portability
by Jason Kincaid on July 9, 2009
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The Data Portability wars just got a little more interesting. Power.com, the service that lets users aggregate their social networks into a single hub, is countersuing Facebook for restricting users’ ability to export and move their own data. The company is claiming that Facebook is unlawfully withholding the data that users own (as stated in Facebook’s own ToS), and is stifling competition by refusing to allow third party services like Power.com to access the data, among other things. This should be fun.
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It’s an analogy that has been drawn since the data portability movement began, and while it may make sense, there’s no guarantee the courts will view phone numbers and a user’s social network data in the same light.
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The idea that users aren’t allowed to input their username and passwords into other services is particularly hypocritical, as that’s exactly what Facebook invites you to do to import contacts from services like Gmail and Yahoo Mail.
Facebook can point to its efforts with Facebook Connect, which lets you log in with your Facebook username at third party sites and import some select data from your profile, as evidence of its openness. But this isn’t true data portability, it’s just a new walled garden — third parties are generally only allowed to cache your data, which means that you’re still tethered to Facebook.
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Data portability is the issue.
It’s MY data.
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