Have you heard of the Trustable Technology Mark? The new initiative was kicked-off at the end of 2018 by ThingsCon, a global community of practitioners around the Internet of Things whose mission is to foster the creation of a human-centric and responsible IoT. It was developed with the support of the Mozilla Foundation.
According to its website, “The Trustable Technology Mark aims to highlight the work of those companies that put in the extra effort of building truly trustworthy devices.” Based on information provided by the device maker itself, in addition to reviews from the ThingsCon network, five dimensions are evaluated:
- Privacy and 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 made clear to users what the device does and how data might be used?
- 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?
Certification comes at no charge and any device maker is able to complete a thorough self-assessment, which is then submitted for evaluation by neutral experts at ThingsCon. Trustable Technology companies get to display the logo on their products and website.
With regular data breaches and hacks, on top of growing concerns over security and privacy, this initiative is expected to take off. “At a time when the Internet of Things is becoming a powerful force for almost every aspect of our lives — on our bodies, in our homes and across our cities — we have to ask the question ‘do we trust it?’, ” says Jon Rogers, Mozilla Fellow and Professor of Creative Technology at University of Dundee. “I wouldn’t take medicines that didn’t come with a clear trusted label; I wouldn’t buy a car that didn’t come with documents telling me who had owned it and if it was safe. Yet, the things we’re buying that connect us, our family and our friends directly to the internet 24 hours a day, 365 days a week currently have almost no way to visibly and say ‘you can trust this.’ This is why the Trustable Technology Mark is so important.”
At the same time, it’s expected that many will be skeptical. Although the organization’s goal is to review all applications, certification begins with a self-assessment. Given how many IoT devices are in the world, if this takes off, there will undoubtably massive volume and difficulty making sure no sketchy devices sneak through the cracks. Still, in this FastCompany article, Peter Bihr, a Mozilla Fellow and cofounder of ThingsCon, says he is not concerned. He is confident that he and his team will be able to spot anything that is “fishy” and if something does get by, they will “launch the mother of all public shaming campaigns.”
Do you think the Trustable Technology mark will take-off? If so, will you actually trust it or will it become another meaningless label?