A Marketplace for Data Portability

Data Transfer Initiative, Forthcoming

15 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2024

See all articles by Chinmayi Sharma

Chinmayi Sharma

Fordham University School of Law

Date Written: February 27, 2024


With March 6, 2024 around the corner—the day designated “gatekeepers” of “core platform services” (CPS) such as search engines and social media platforms must comply with the mandates set forth in the Digital Markets Act (DMA)—many of us are left wondering how the DMA will change the online ecosystem. In particular, this paper will focus on how the DMA’s interoperability and data portability requirements will manifest. The motivation behind the DMA's focus on interoperability and data portability is clear: to challenge the status quo where a few digital giants control significant portions of the online space, limiting consumer choice and stifling innovation.

However laudable the DMA’s motivations and goals, little is known about how its mandates will be accomplished. The act's current language offers broad directives without delving into the granular technical standards or frameworks that companies should adopt to achieve these goals. This lack of specificity is not without its merits; it allows for flexibility and innovation in how companies approach the challenge of interoperability and data portability. Yet, this same flexibility grants companies considerable leeway in interpreting and implementing the mandates, potentially leading to a fragmented landscape where the underlying objectives of the DMA are not fully realized. Or worse, regulatory arbitrage that further entrenches the status quo as opposed to loosening the grip gatekeepers currently have on the market. Luckily, there is a way to straddle the divide.

This paper argues for a three-phased approach to DMA implementation. First, the EU should afford companies flexibility implementing the DMA to foster a robust marketplace of interoperability and data portability solutions tailored to specific domains. In the second stage, the EU should enlist expert stakeholders to evaluate the merits and shortcomings of the various approaches actually in use to gain an evidence-based understanding of which technological methods achieve the DMA’s stated goals. Finally, in the third phase, the EU should continue to engage a diverse group of independent, expert stakeholders representing various factions and interests in society to identify the most effective technological practices for different sector based on the empirical evidence analyzed and the normative evaluation of values undertaken. In other words, foster a marketplace of solutions to inform decisions around which ones actually accomplish what the DMA sets out to do.

Keywords: interoperability, data portability, Digital Markets Act, competition, privacy, APIs, protocols, standards

Suggested Citation

Sharma, Chinmayi, A Marketplace for Data Portability (February 27, 2024). Data Transfer Initiative, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4741065 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4741065

Chinmayi Sharma (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

150 West 62 Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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