Realising the Right to Data Portability for the Domestic Internet of Things

22 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2017 Last revised: 31 May 2017

Lachlan Urquhart

Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute

Neelima Sailaja

University of Nottingham, Students

Derek McAuley

University of Nottingham

Date Written: March 15, 2017


There is an increasing role for the IT design community to play in regulation of emerging IT. Article 25 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016 puts this on a strict legal basis by establishing the need for information privacy by design and default (PbD) for personal data-driven technologies. Against this backdrop, we examine legal, commercial and technical perspectives around the newly created legal right to data portability (RTDP) in GDPR. We are motivated by a pressing need to address regulatory challenges stemming from the Internet of Things (IoT). We need to find channels to support the protection of these new legal rights for users in practice.

In Part I we introduce the internet of things and information PbD in more detail. We briefly consider regulatory challenges posed by the IoT and the nature and practical challenges surrounding the regulatory response of information privacy by design.

In Part II, we look in depth at the legal nature of the RTDP, determining what it requires from IT designers in practice but also limitations on the right and how it relates to IoT.

In Part III we focus on technical approaches that can support the realisation of the right. We consider the state of the art in data management architectures, tools and platforms that can provide portability, increased transparency and user control over the data flows.

In Part IV, we bring our perspectives together to reflect on the technical, legal and business barriers and opportunities that will shape the implementation of the RTDP in practice, and how the relationships may shape emerging IoT innovation and business models. We finish with brief conclusions about the future for the RTDP and PbD in the IoT.

NOTE - Updated v.2 added 30 May 2017.

Keywords: right to data portability; general data protection regulation; personal information management systems; internet of things; privacy by design

Suggested Citation

Urquhart, Lachlan and Sailaja, Neelima and McAuley, Derek, Realising the Right to Data Portability for the Domestic Internet of Things (March 15, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Lachlan Urquhart (Contact Author)

Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute ( email )

University of Nottingham Innovation Park
Triumph Road
Nottingham, NG7 2TU
United Kingdom

Neelima Sailaja

University of Nottingham, Students ( email )

United Kingdom

Derek McAuley

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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