University of Dundee Supports New IoT Trustable Technology Mark
New ‘Trustable Technology Mark’ logo to be introduced to distinguish IoT devices from companies that have data and privacy practices in place.
With Internet of Things (IoT) devices becoming increasingly commonplace within the workplace and home, a new tool has been created by Berlin-based company ThingsCon – a new trust logo, similar to the ones used to certify a product is organic.
Many IoT devices have no trust mark and users are often clueless as to what personal data the device is gathering, and if indeed that data is being handled securely.
ThingsCon’s ‘Trustable Technology Mark’ will serve as a badge to help consumers identify IoT products that will protect the users’ privacy. It is also a tool for companies to differentiate their products as trustworthy, more secure, with better transparency and with greater longevity guaranteed.
To earn the mark, IoT products are evaluated using five criteria:
- Privacy & Data Practices: Is it designed using state of the art data practices, and respectful of user rights?
- Transparency: Is it made clear to users what the device does and how data might be used?
- Security: Is it designed and built using state of the art security practices and safeguards?
- Stability: How robust is the device and how long of a life cycle can a consumer reasonably expect?
- Openness: How open are both the device and the manufacturer’s processes? Is open data used or generated?
To qualify, companies must perform a self-assessment questionnaire, which once submitted is then vetted by security experts such as Jason Schultz, the company’s legal lead and director of NYU’s Technology Law and Policy Clinic, and Ame Elliott, design director at nonprofit Simply Secure.
More Than Just a Logo
The new mark, which is supported by the University of Dundee, Mozilla Foundation, NYU Law, and other institutions, also requires the company to take a legally binding promise that the consumers actually own the product they are selling.
Many IoT devices with software fall under a copyright law that restricts the consumer from modifying it, which means that rather than own the device they own a license to use it in a limited way. If the company fails to uphold this pledge it could potentially face a class-action lawsuit.
Peter Bihr, ThingsCon co-founder and a Mozilla Fellow leading the Trustable Technology Mark initiative, says: “IoT devices are only becoming more widespread and more advanced — they live in our kitchens and bedrooms, and they access our calendars and our conversations.
“As a result, consumers should have answers to important questions like What personal data does this product collect? How is that data stored? Who has access to that data? And Can I easily export that data?”