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Consumers International launches Trust by Design Guidelines for consumer IoT

19 February 2019

Consumers International has launched a new set of principles and guidelines to help manufacturers create safe and trusted smart devices for consumers – sometimes known as the consumer internet of things (or CIoT).

The Trust by Design principles and accompanying guidelines set out requirements across six areas, to ensure the security, privacy, transparency, user-friendliness and ethical nature of smart devices. They provide useful, practical guidance to manufacturers, with case studies and checklists to encourage implementation.

Designed in collaboration with Vodafone and Internet of Things manufacturers, Vodafone has already started to use the checklist with its V by Vodafone range of consumer IoT devices.  Consumers International is working with Vodafone to hold workshops to train manufacturers who wish to be compliant in Trust by Design and demonstrate their commitment to creating a trusted, safe consumer IoT system.

Our view

"Consumers do want to engage with new technologies and innovations, they just don’t want to do it at the expense of their safety and privacy. These guidelines were built alongside manufacturers and give practical, real-world advice on how to build trusted smart products.

We are delighted that Vodafone is already using them for its V by Vodafone own brand IoT devices so consumers will very soon be able to see the benefits of this work. We are keen to see more manufacturers using the guidelines to create an ecosystem of smart devices that consumers trust and feel comfortable using in their day-to-day lives.”

Justin MacMullan, Advocacy Director, Consumers International

Six Trust By Design Principles

In addition to helping developers comply with existing regulatory requirements, the Trust by Design Guidelines focus on areas which will help to create a trusted IoT ecosystem:

  1. Security: making sure manufacturers build in security by design, using best in class guidance and focusing on encryption, updates and firewalls.
  2. Privacy: making sure only the minimal amount of personal data is collected, that privacy risk assessments are carried out and that privacy information and options are clear and understandable.  
  3. Transparency: with so many different providers involved in delivering smart products, it is essential to ensure that clear information is provided to consumers, particularly when it comes to who the consumer can contact if they have any problems with the device or the communications service.
  4. Supporting vulnerable customers: building in trust for devices used by children or vulnerable consumers by ensuring that information is understandable, accessibility is built in and appropriate support and security features are provided.
  5. Customer support and complaint handling: making sure customer concerns are dealt with quickly and effectively.  
  6. Environment: making sure products are made with minimal impact on the environment and that they can be repaired easily or disposed of safely.

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