Decoupling user data from applications

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Let users control the data they create, so they can share it with or switch to another application as they please.

The issue:

The balance of power between tech companies and their users/customers is skewed. My data as a user is locked in applications (e.g. my LinkedIn profile information, my Twitter posts,...). Some of the companies behind those applications allow me to share my data with other companies via their API, but usually this is restricted. I can't move all my Twitter posts to another service if I'm not happy with Twitter any more, or sync my LinkedIn contacts with Xing. 

Users should own the data they place in a application and be able to share it / move it to other applications as they please.   

The solution:

Take GDPR a step further and enforce the principle of decoupling of personal data from applications. For an example of how to do this, see https://solid.inrupt.com/how-it-works.

Let users decide where they want to store their data independently of which applications use it. This would fix the huge monopoly of the tech giants, and encourage AI innovation because startup wouldn't have the burden of collecting data first: they could re-use what's there easily as long as their users decide to let them. 

For this to happen, we need two things: 

- Technical standards to decouple personal data from applications and make it reusable across applications (e.g. like what Solid proposes, based on the widespread RDF format)

- Regulation that forces companies to comply with those standards

Who should act:

- Parlamentarians at the Swiss and EU level to build upon GDPR and take it to this next level

- Companies to lead by example and start decoupling personal data from their own applications

- W3C to define the standards