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US lawmakers propose to force large technology companies to allow data portability

Leaving a social network and starting another one from scratch can go down in history in a matter of time. In the last months, US lawmakers they have questioned the power of the great social platforms and this week some of them have presented a bill that seeks to reduce that supremaca.

It's about the law Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching, better known simply as ACCESS Act. A legislation designed to make large communications platforms lose control of user data and, therefore, the enormous power that they give them.

This bill seeks to reduce the supremacy of large social platforms by demanding that user data can be ported.

How can they lose control over such valuable information for them? Demanding them to make their users' data interoperable. Or what is the same: allow the easy transfer of photos, chat histories, publications and other content between one platform and another. Open the platforms, in short.

A requested opening of the platforms

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Many critics with the power of major technology companies such as Chris Hughes, who once founded Facebook, consider what kind of rules to be exactly the type of regulation needed to deal with the growing monopolies of companies of the size and power of Apple, Google, Facebook or Amazon.

Based on the fact that the data of a user is his property, this law that arises will force the technology giants to have their services interoperable with those provided by smaller companies. Specifically, it will affect "large communication platforms" with 100 million monthly users that generate revenue from data collection, processing or exchange. Most large social networks, for example, will be affected.

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Demanding interoperability and the right to portability, argue the senators responsible for the proposal, greater competition will be encouraged in markets such as social media or instant messenger.

If the law is passed, the big platforms will only have 120 days to signal the rival platforms how to access the information

The initiative recalls certain measures included in the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union, although in this case the ACCESS Act I will go there by pretending that companies create new interfaces, similar to an API, to which their competitors will have direct access. A measure that could prevent blockages of competitors such as those that have been experienced in the past, when the APIs of a service have been used to limit the possibilities of a third party to use them.

Nevertheless, this proposed bill in the United States outlines the objective of interoperability and data portability, but does not define exactly how it should be carried out. If the ACCESS law is passed, the big platforms they will only have 120 days to signal rival platforms how to access the information they manage through the interoperability interfaces they must create.