Project researches psychological and technical hindrances to using right to data portability
Why do users hardly make any use of their right to data portability? The University of Passau is participating in the project ‚amiDaPo‘, which is looking into this question from a psychological and technical point of view.
In Article 20, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides for a right to data portability: since May 2018, users have been able to take their personal data with them when they want to change from one platform to another. On-line services such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have meanwhile made data download tools available for that reason.
The European legislators had great hopes of this right: it had the potential to improve data protection, give users more control over their data and sharpen competition between on-line services. In practice, however, hardly anyone makes use of it at all.
Why? Led by the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich (LMU), the project ‚Awareness, Motivation and Implementation of Data Portability (amiDaPo)‘ is looking into this question from both a technical and a psychological perspective. One person involved in the project is Professor Susanne Mayr, holder of the Chair of Human-Machine Interaction at the University of Passau. „We aim to investigate how data portability can be implemented most effectively from a psychological, an economic and a technological angle.“
What psychological factors are at work here?
The researcher from Passau and her colleague Dr. Robert Luzsa are concentrating on the psychological causes. „For example, we’re looking at what impact sociodemographic variables, attitudes and personality traits have on users‘ motivation“, says Professor Mayr. The team is also taking a look at the user interface of the platforms: how could it be designed, on the one hand to sensitise users to the right they have, and on the other to make it easier for them to take their data with them?
Another area of emphasis in the project looks at the economic and regulatory aspects: how does data portability impact competition between on-line services? And what role does the state play?
The third area of emphasis is technology. The joint project is currently analysing existing data download tools, identifying challenges and developing solutions to them.
Participants and funding
Johann Kranz, professor of Internet business and Internet services at the LMU, is coordinating the research project. Alongside the University of Passau, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is also participating, in the person of Professor Jens Grossklags, professor of Cyber Trust.
The Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt) is funding the project for a period of two years.