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A Partnership to Tackle Growing Risks in a Connected World

By Amanda Long and Kathryn Brown

With a shared vision of putting people at the center of the digital world, Consumers International and the Internet Society have formed a new working partnership aimed at creating a safer, more trusted internet for everyone. 


As stated in a joint letter to G20 leaders, both organisations share the view that the unwritten future of the internet is full of endless opportunity, but that if we want everyone to benefit from its potential we need to make sure it is fair, open, safe and secure.

Only by prioritising the needs of people in an increasingly connected world, can we make this possible. Consumers should be confident in their use of internet-connected devices, and have the right to know how their personal data is collected, protected, shared and stored.

Our organisations plan to work together on a wide range of initiatives including to make sure individuals have access to secure internet-connected devices, understand what online privacy and security means for them, and are empowered to make informed choices about the technology they use in their daily lives.

The Internet of Things (or IoT) offers the promise of convenience, efficiency and more personalized services. It’s a phenomenon that’s being seen all around the world. From smart TVs, to wearable fitness trackers and connected teddy bears, from North America to Europe to Japan and beyond into developing regions, the products and services around us are becoming more and more connected.

Yet the explosion of connected devices in our day-to-day lives is putting users’ privacy and security in the spotlight like never before, and it’s not always good news. Many IoT products are rushed to market with little consideration for basic security and privacy protections. It's time for manufacturers to get ahead of the IoT security curve and take actions that will limit risk and instill consumer trust. To do this, we will work with manufacturers, retailers and regulators to make sure safety and privacy are included in the initial design and through the entire product lifecycle. And this is just the beginning.

We will be working with industry and consumer groups to improve the overall security and privacy of IoT offerings, and to make sure consumers have products or services that are secure and privacy-respecting.  Consumer confidence is critical for IoT to thrive and to deliver on its promise. We believe the protection of online security and privacy are key pillars in building trust.

Through our passionate and active memberships across the world we understand the national context for consumers living in a connected world as well as the global picture.

We look forward to combining our considerable experience, knowledge and connections in both the consumer and online areas to share information, build our understanding and create more impact across the globe. Our partnership is a way to create real change for people everywhere. Together, we can shape the digital world for tomorrow.
 

Additional reading:

Consumers International research in 2017, revealed the benefits on consumer rights organisations and digital NGOs working together. You can read more here, Connecting voices: a role for consumer rights in developing digital society 

Internet Society Online Trust Alliance IoT Trust Framework for Manufacturers