Data Liberation

Brian Fitzpatrick

Data liberation refers to getting your data back out of places you have stored it in the cloud.  In the first day’s endnote address, Brian Fitzpatrick, Engineering Manager, Google, Chicago and founder of the Data Liberation Front, said that Google feels that a user should be able to control the data they store in any of Google’s products, and his team’s mission is to make it easier to move data in and out of their services.  Here is his team’s logo:

Data Liberation Logo


Why should a company help users remove their data?  It’s not for altruistic reasons; they benefit from it because it increases user trust.  Companies should develop tools making it easier for a user to leave.  Locking data in is not a valid business model.  Never in history has a distribution method like the Internet existed; it is almost free and breaks all the rules.  Google’s aim is to make products so good that users do not want to leave.  The new lock-in is innovation; focusing on building walls and locking doors to the data makes you vulnerable to innovators who will figure out ways to allow users to remove their data.

Most users don’t think about data liberation until they want to leave, but they should ask these questions before they put their data into any system:

  • Can I get my data out at all?
  • How much will it cost to get my data out?
  • How much of my time will it take to get my data out?

Some people aren’t comfortable about putting their data in the cloud, but the reality is that it’s safer there than on your laptop.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

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