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Bridge Bytes: Apple teams up with Google, Facebook and Twitter for a secretive ‘Data Transfer Project’

almost 3 years ago by Harry Robinson

Franki Chamaki 1 K6 I Qs Qbiz I Unsplash

In a post Avengers world, our new superpowered team of reluctant allies is a tad less heroic, if not slightly better funded.

A full 12 months after it’s original launch, the ominously vague ‘Data Transfer Project’ has added Apple to its ranks, joining the technological dream team of Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter. All putting aside their differences in a bid to create an open-source data portability platform, meaning anyone can move their data between online service providers without the hassle of inter-company politics.


What is the Data Transfer Project?

According to Greg Fair, product manager for Google Takeout, the idea arose from a frustration with the available options for managing data after it’s downloaded. Without a clear way to import that same data to a different service, tools like Takeout were only solving half the problem.

Most platforms already offer some kind of data-download tool, but those tools rarely connect with other services. The ‘Data Transfer Project’ is the culmination of this Avengers level collaboration, a solution to the integration between so many competitor’s products.

The ‘Data Transfer Project’ is still in very active development, and while there is code that works for a variety of use cases, the all-star collaborators are continually making improvements that might cause things to break occasionally. So, test with caution and expect some hiccups. The final product is still some way off and the introduction of Apple may slow progress further as their IOS software is renowned for its isolation from Windows and Android.


Sounds cool, but how safe is it?

It’s only fair to be suspicious of your privacy with all these tech giants in the midst of their own data crises, with Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the forefront of industry scandals and Google caught out on their nosey smart speakers saving audio without permission.

On security and privacy, the ‘Data Transfer Project’ committee released the following statement;
“The security and privacy of user data is a foundational principle of the Data Transfer Project. Because there are multiple parties involved in the data transfer (the user, Hosting Entity, providers, and Contributors) no one person or entity can fully ensure the security and privacy of the entire system. Instead, responsibility is shared among all the participants.”

Now it’s up to you to decide whether that actually reads as a commitment to security, or are these titans of tech simply pardoning themselves, playing hot potato with the responsibility?

Keep an eye on the ‘Data Transfer Project’s progress here

Or learn more about data security and the recent Capital One breaches here