The Digital Standard
About the Standard
The Digital Standard is an ambitious, community-led effort to build a framework to test and rate products and services on the basis of privacy, security, and data practices.
Consumers care about digital privacy and security but often have no way to understand how a product or service treats and protects their data. While there are established criteria and tests to measure fuel efficiency in cars, the crash performance of car seats, and the energy efficiency of home appliances, consumer organizations currently lack standards for testing and rating how well products and services manage consumers’ privacy, security, and data. These issues are big, pressing, and not fully understood, but will define product and service quality and accountability in the 21st century and standard tests and ratings must now be developed.
Led by Consumer Reports, Cyber Independent Testing Lab, Disconnect, and Ranking Digital Rights of the Open Technology Institute, the Digital Standard seeks to rally consumer organizations, security researchers, academics, and hobbyists in a shared undertaking to develop a product testing framework for privacy, security, and data practices.
The Digital Standard is a work in progress. This site contains the current, working draft of the Standard, but we need your help to make it better. There are big questions left to tackle, including:
How do we apply the Standard to different types of products and services? What new protocols and procedures do we need to develop? Do we have the right criteria? Have we identified the most important indicators? How can we conduct independent testing of consumer experiences that extend across products, services, legal agreements, and corporate practices? Each criteria has been color-coded to help direct your contribution and participation.
- Green: Well understood with a developed testing approach in place.
- Yellow: Under development with some outstanding questions.
- Red: Under discussion, usually due to the sensitivity and complexity of the issue.
You can propose a change, run a test and report results, or start a conversation about how to tackle one of the open questions.
How to Participate
The Digital Standard is an open collaboration. To support participation, we’ve published the Standard on GitHub. You can use GitHub’s built-in features to leave comments, propose changes, or fork the project to take it in a new direction.
We operate like an open source project, with the founding partners governing by consensus. I.e., Propose a change, the community will debate its merits, and the partners will accept if it makes sense and adds value.