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Data Portability: GDPR for Businesses

What is data portability?

Data portability refers to data subjects obtaining data that a data controller holds on them and to reuse it for their purposes. Individuals are free to either store the data for personal use or transmit it to another data controller provided it is in a structured, commonly used, and machine-readable format.

What is the right to ‘data portability’?

The right to data portability applies:

  • To personal data that an individual has provided to a data controller;
  • When the processing is carried out by automated means; and
  • When it is used for the performance of a contract or when the processing is based on the individual’s consent

This right can be exercised by directly transmitting the requested data to the individual or providing access to an automated tool that allows the individual to extract the data themselves.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Data Portability

In 2018, GDPR gave special protection to data portability. Personal data of users are used for behavioral advertising, and during recent times, it's evident that the value of consumer data is increasing exponentially. This is usually the result of marketing platforms, holding user data to provide targeted advertisements. Therefore, the concept of data portability aims to ensure balance this power of data sharing by giving the data rights of data portability to users.

Impact on businesses

The right has a massive impact on businesses as it alters the relationship between individuals and data controllers. Individuals now have the right to manage their data across the platforms. Therefore, if the individual decides to transmit the data to a competitor, businesses are bound to do so. Additionally, if they wish for their data to be erased, that has been collected throughout the years, controllers or businesses are mandated to do so. As a result, this leads to more competition between businesses and should be taken into account when determining a business strategy.

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