The birth of the Universal Digital profile

By 24. May 2018October 5th, 2020No Comments
universal digital profile

With access to data portability increasing, one online profile should be easily transferable to any other provider.

It is a well-known fact that Europeans are generally more concerned about privacy than others. Indeed, the U.S. has a history of major privacy breaches with such catastrophic consequences that it is now generally accepted that personal data should be treated as highly sensitive. The culmination of this is the new EU wide privacy regulation, the GDPR, which will come into effect on May 25, 2018, and was a hot topic during the recent Zuckerberg testimony.

One key article is the right to personal data portability. In a nutshell, it states that users of a service can request their personal data to be transferred to another provider, without hindrance (read: in the format the other provider requests). This means that if you are no longer happy using a social network, you can switch to another one and have all of your personal data (profile, pictures, messages, posts, likes…) sent to the new provider. It’s the same idea as being able to keep your phone number when you change carrier. Your online identity will soon be transferable across multiple providers.

As these data transfer requests become more and more common, companies will want to minimize the effort and expense it takes to comply. The only logical thing to do to avoid having to convert data into each provider’s format is to eventually agree on standardized formats for personal data and APIs used to access them. Our messages, social networks, location data, images, purchase history, music listening history and everything else will become standardized, just like our email or calendars have been for decades.

Consumers will eventually realize that the profiles they spent time creating can be reused without effort elsewhere. They will start treating their profiles as a shared resource amongst all providers that need similar information. For example, if you uploaded your ID on a website to be verified, you would be able to reuse that already verified profile elsewhere, removing the need to resend your info and wait for confirmation.

As this Universal Digital Profile (UDP) starts becoming mainstream, an entire new economy will emerge, from personal data clouds to personal identity aggregators or data monetization platforms. All those ideas have been floating around for years but couldn’t be scaled due to a lack of interoperability. Now they will finally come to life.

This is a major change for the internet, and for European citizens. It’s by far one of the most profound impacts of the GDPR on our digital lives and on our digital freedom of movement. Let’s just hope that it won’t be limited to Europeans and that companies across the globe will adopt this idea so we can improve lives across the world.

Read the complete article by Randi Hindi here

Want to learn more about data portability? Visit us and see how we can help your company comply with the GDPR at