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Data Portability on the Internet: An Economic Analysis

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  • Wohlfarth, Michael

Abstract

Data portability allows users to transfer data from one online service to another service. As data gets increasingly valuable for online services and users alike, and as data portability will be politically enforced within the European Union by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we develop a game-theoretic model that incorporates the competitive effects arising from a right to data portability. We show, among others, that although data portability is designed to protect users, a right to data portability may hurt customers because new services increase the amount of collected data compared to the case without a right to data portability. However, profits for new services and total surplus unambiguously increase with a right to data portability, improving innovation and service variety. Consequently, policy makers should be aware that the decision to enforce data portability is far more complex than currently realized and should consider the case-specific effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Wohlfarth, Michael, 2017. "Data Portability on the Internet: An Economic Analysis," 28th European Regional ITS Conference, Passau 2017 169506, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:itse17:169506
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    Keywords

    Data portability; Regulation of online services; Market entry and innovation; Consumer protection; Switching costs; GDPR;

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