The Right to Data Portability in the Context of the EU Data Protection Reform

International Data Privacy Law, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2012

14 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2013 Last revised: 25 Mar 2019

Date Written: March 12, 2012


The proposal for reform of the data protection legal framework, recently made public by the European Commission (EC), specifically enshrines a ‘right to data portability’, which is designed to reduce the difficulties for individuals to stay in control of their personal data, along with the provision of a ‘right to be forgotten’ and a ‘right to rectification’.

The debates surrounding these privacy concerns, especially related to cloud computing (another ubiquitous concept), have not enjoyed a clear, unitary discourse, as IT developments have almost out-run the rhythm in which legal scholars were analysing recent threats to privacy, and especially internet privacy.

This paper aims to reveal the characteristics of data portability as a legal concept in the modern world of privacy and data protection; it focuses on a few aspects of the reform proposed by the Commission, highlighting the detailed provisions of the right to data portability in the larger context of the reform.

It also discusses data portability’s impact on competition and its links to international data transfers, as they will be regulated in the new EU data protection law.

It concludes that data portability is a right of the data subject strongly connected with a fundamental right to the free development of human personality, and is also a function that cloud computing services worldwide will have to provide in order to increase users’, customers’ or consumers’ trust.

Keywords: data portability, data protection, cloud computing, data protection regulation

Suggested Citation

Zanfir-Fortuna, Gabriela, The Right to Data Portability in the Context of the EU Data Protection Reform (March 12, 2012). International Data Privacy Law, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2012. Available at SSRN:

Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna (Contact Author)

Future of Privacy Forum ( email )

United States

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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