According to the blog post entitled on Microsoft Joins DataPortability.org on dev.live.com we learn

Today Microsoft is announcing that it has joined DataPortability.org, a group committed to advancing the conversation about the portability, security and privacy of individuals’ information online.  There are important security and privacy issues to solve as the internet evolves, and we are committed to being an integral part of the industry conversation on behalf of our users.

The decision to join DataPortability.org is an outgrowth of a deeper theme that technology and the internet should be deployed to help people be at the center of their online worlds, a theme that has begun to permeate our products and services over the past few years. We believe the logical evolution of the internet is to enable the removal of barriers to provide integrated, seamless experiences, but to do so in a manner that ensures that users retain full control over the security and privacy of their information.

Windows Live is focused on providing tools and a platform to enable these types of seamless experiences.  Windows Live has more than 420 million active Live IDs that work across our services and across partner sites. 

I’m sure some folks are wondering exactly what this means. Even though I was close to the decision making around this, I believe it is still too early to tell. Personally, I share Marc Canter’s skepticism about Dataportability.org given that so far there’s been a lot of hype but no real meat.

However we have real problems to solve as an industry. The lack of interoperability between various social software applications is troubling given that the Internet (especially the Web) got to be a success today by embracing interoperability instead of being about walled gardens fighting over who can build the prettiest gilded cage for their prisoners customers. The fact that when interoperability happens, it is in back room deals (e.g. Google OpenSocial, Microsoft’s conversations with startups, etc) instead of being open to all using standard and unencumbered protocols is similarly troubling. Even worse, insecure practices that expose social software users to privacy violations have become commonplace due to the lack of a common framework for interoperability.

As far as I can tell, Dataportability.org seems like a good forum for various social software vendors to start talking about how we can get to a world where there is actual interoperability between social software applications. I’d like to see real meat fall out of this effort not fluff. One of the representatives Microsoft has chosen is the dev lead from the product team I am on (Inder Sethi) which implies we want technical discussion of protocols and technologies not just feel good jive. We’ll also be sending a product planning/marketing type as well (John Richards) to make sure the end user perspective is also being covered. You can assume that even though I am not on the working group in person, I will be there in spirit since I communicate with both John and Inder on a regular basis. Smile 

I’ll also be at the O’Reilly offices during Super Bowl weekend attending the O’Reilly Social Graph FOO Camp which I hope will be another avenue to sit together with technical decision makers from the various major social software vendors and talk about how we can move this issue forward as an industry.

Now playing: Bone Thugs 'N Harmony - If I Could Teach The World


 

Thursday, January 24, 2008 9:58:10 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I'm extremely skeptical about Microsoft's commitment to data portability. I worked in MSN for many years, and I sat in meetings where a certain VP would tell us that the *strategy* was to lock up user data (Address Book and Inbox data) and make sure they couldn't leave the service. This VP is no longer at Microsoft, but still there is a certain culture there that will need to change before this can really be successful.
Justin Voskuhl
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