back to article Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter make it easier to download your info and upload to, er, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter etc...

Allowing developers to siphon millions of netizens' personal information didn't work out so well for Facebook, given the Cambridge Analytica affair. Nonetheless, the misinformation and ads platform has decided to build a data takeout service for account holders, allowing people to download their information in a standardized …

  1. Flakk

    Wha?

    As I interpreted the language, I thought that the purpose was to try to prevent SaaS providers from locking their clients in with data formats that would never translate to the services of another SaaS provider. That seems like a good thing to me.

    Why on earth would I want to upload my Twitter data to Google?

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Wha?

      Google Plus exists. In the event that you wanted to export your Tweets there, it would be possible to do so.

  2. Mage Silver badge

    Download & Upload

    Except it's only a fraction of what they have gathered.

    This is like nearly pointless.

    It took me AGES to find ALL the different "sync" settings that Google had "thoughtfully" put on my phone.

    I do NOT want opt in by default to create a web accessible list of contact information, automatically!

    What if I had been stupid enough to use my real name and a weak password when I bought my new phone recently and HAD to create a gmail account to use it at all?

    See also Nook, Kobo & Amazon eInk readers. Reduced functionality or NO access at all to device you just bought unless you create an account on their service. I think with my iPhone 4S I only had to create an account to use iTunes.

    Google's Playstore, Barnes & Noble and Kobo want a Credit card too. Sadly Amazon has that already, but I can't seem to disable book purchases to loan Kindle. I found on Amazon if you make a trivial change on web site you have to re-enter Credit Card details, that though madly only blocks regular Amazon Website use. I don't trust even good passwords.

    If you delete account on Kindle, Kobo or Nook, even your own eBooks (either self authored or free downloads, say Gutenberg) are deleted as well as bought items.

    These big USA companies are ABUSIVE.

    By default they all opt you into marketing emails.

  3. JohnFen Silver badge

    Always makes me chuckle

    "to look seriously at proper plumbing for moving bits between services in a secure manner"

    I know what they mean (they mean "secure from anybody who isn't them"), but I always have to laugh a bit at the notion of any of these companies caring overly much about the security of user data, given that their business models are all based on the opposite of that.

    1. Tomato42
      Trollface

      Re: Always makes me chuckle

      > given that their business models are all based on the opposite of that.

      oh, au contraire! if you don't have full and complete control and secrecy of the collected data, how are you going to monetise it and ensure proper billing?

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Always makes me chuckle

        Yes, that's their perspective. From my point of view, though, they themselves are also in the group of malicious attackers that I must defend against, so if I am fully exposed to them, that's a serious security issue even if they can perfectly defend my data against all other attackers.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "the misinformation and ads platform has decided to build a data takeout service for account holders"

    And what about the data they've built up on non-account holders?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Well that's easy ; the non-account holders will never ask about it since they don't have an account, so Google et al can do whatever they want with that data.

  5. ThatOne Silver badge
    Facepalm

    So, it's easier to steal information now?

    Instead of having to work through the whole dataset and assemble the pieces, you can now download everything in one handy, well-indexed block? That will definitely speed things up for data thieves!

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Coat

    How can you transfer anything to Twitter?

    It's going to be trunc

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How can you transfer anything to Twitter?

      They're talking more about stuff like metadata - you could transfer your friends list out of Facebook and automatically follow the same people on Twitter even if they have different usernames you don't know.

      I'm sure some people will like this, but others will hate it - just because you're Facebook friends with me doesn't mean you want me to find you on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Or worse, phone if you've given your phone number to Facebook (yet another reason I'm glad Facebook doesn't have my phone number)

      It is questionable whether any of these companies really want to do this however, except to another company that feel is a 'peer'. If I started a new social networking service to compete with Facebook, people able to download their friends lists into my service would allow switching from Facebook in a matter if months if mine was popular (i.e. if it did something crazy like putting user privacy ahead of revenue)

      Surely Facebook would put plenty of roadblocks in the way of someone trying to export their crown jewels, the connections between their billion users, into a startup that's trying to eat their lunch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How can you transfer anything to Twitter?

        "Or worse, phone if you've given your phone number to Facebook (yet another reason I'm glad Facebook doesn't have my phone number)"

        Depressingly, you're most likely wrong about this. Although YOU may not have given Facebook your phone number they have most probably siphoned it off your phone if you use any Facebook app, or a device owned by any of your contacts:

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/03/25/facebook_app_privacy/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How can you transfer anything to Twitter?

          They have my number - every few months it asks me "is this your number" with my mobile number, but it was taken off SOMEONE ELSE'S phone who allowed it to download contacts. The thing you linked affects Android users, not iOS.

          However, the fact they have my number but I haven't confirmed it is my number should effectively opt me out of this. They can't know if I've got a new number based on contacts probably downloaded several years ago off someone else's phone.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: How can you transfer anything to Twitter?

            "every few months it asks me "is this your number" with my mobile number"

            I hope that you always answer "no".

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Supermarket example

    Is that like Nectar cards we have in the UK? Many different companies use them to collect points and give rewards. Somehow before the cloud we still had quite joined up services.

  8. Woodnag

    Misinformation

    "...way for people to transfer data into and out of online services".

    There is no transfer. It's copying. Transfer implies moving the data, so the data is no longer at the origin. Not so, folks.

    1. DCFusor

      Re: Misinformation

      I regret having but one upvote, I came here to say the same thing. Who in the world thinks anyone's going to erase the original copy? Who thinks they'd go along with this idea if it didn't mean even more could be put together about you, and you and that other person? They lose a bit of exclusivity on some of it, but for training their ML...wow, the data set will just get richer and richer, to use to manipulate and predict the next batch of punks.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You can already import your favourites from Ocado into Waitrose (and presumably vice versa) - it’s the future

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