Pack your bags and move your things while staying GDPR compliant

Move your data across platforms with the Data Transfer Project

Jane Elizabeth
Data Transfer Project
© Shutterstock / sdecoret

Data security made headlines around the world with the GDPR earlier this year. But now, a recent initiative from some of the biggest names in tech makes it even easier to keep your data safe when moving it across providers with the Data Transfer Project.

The GDPR was a landmark piece of legislation. (You can read more of our GDPR coverage here.) One crucial point was to ensure that tech companies made their data available to users based in Europe within a reasonable amount of time. Now that it is in effect, corporations are required to do so. And suddenly, everyone needs some kind of data transfer system ASAP. Enter the Data Transfer Project.

Unless you’ve been neurotic about your privacy settings and stopped using every online service ever, it’s likely that you have an awful lot of data floating around.  The Data Transfer Project  makes it easier than ever for users to take control of their data from major platforms across the internet.

SEE ALSO: GDPR — Designing privacy and data protection

What is the Data Transfer Project?

Centered on the idea that people should be able to freely transfer their files and data directly, the Data Transfer Project was created in 2017. It makes a common framework for interoperability available to users for online service providers like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter.

By extending portability across platforms, users can copy and transfer their data in and out of any participating provider. This open source initiative reduces friction between providers and lowers the infrastructure costs with a common framework. Additionally, it puts the onus on the service providers and not individual users. This is important because Google traditionally has a lot more computing expertise than the average citizen; it’s easier to have them solve this problem than your Uncle Bob in Berlin.

The DTP is made up of three specific parts: data models, company specific adapters, and task management.

Data models – This represents the data itself as it is being transferred by the individuals. This could be data of any kind. By encouraging organizations to harmonize data models, organizations no longer need to develop proprietary APIs for data transfer.

Adapters – The adapters make is possible for different ecosystems to play nicely together. They include the data adapters between the data model and the exporter, as well as the authentication adapter that okays the transfer.

Task management libraries – These libraries handle any kind of background tasks, including any calls between adapters, secure data storage, retry logic, rate limiting, pagination management, failure handling, and individual notifications.

SEE ALSO: How will GDPR complicate data collection?

Moving forward

The Data Transfer Project is still in the beginning steps. However, thanks to the support of major companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, it is likely that other ICT companies will join the move towards an open source standard for data transfer. More information about the technical overview of this project is available here.

The Data Transfer Project is under active development. Companies that wish to join are incredibly welcome to join; there is an integration guide available here. Individuals looking to volunteer their time should check out the developer’s guide on GitHub.


Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for

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