I recently shared the concept of developing data portability policies, standards, and best practices as a potential project for New Media Rights' Drumbeat San Diego event, and as project that could fit within Mozilla's larger Drumbeat initiative fostering projects that celebrate and ensure and open web.
This project begins with the concept that user choice, and user control over their experience, should remain a distinguishing feature of the open internet.
To maintain a healthy competition amongst online services heavily reliant on user-submitted data, it will become increasingly important to make sure user data is easily portable. This will help ensure that popular services make changes according to the interests of their users, and that new services can compete on the basis of their merits and usability, without artificial barriers to competition. Keeping data in the hands of users, rather than allowing confusing legal and technological techniques to lock upconsumer data, will help ensure an open and competitive internet.