The Digital Standard

A framework to evaluate how technologies respect consumers’ interests, used by independent testing organizations, researchers and product teams.


Independent product testing has historically focused on how easy products and services are to use, as well as their safety, quality and cost. Today, such testing must also incorporate the individual and collective effects of products and services on values like privacy, fairness, and user control. How can we evaluate the privacy and security of connected products? 

Our Approach

  • The Digital Standard is a framework used by independent testing organizations like Consumer Reports to evaluate consumer technologies and how well they respect people’s interests and needs, including privacy, security, ownership and governance.


  • The Digital Standard is built openly and strives to represent the expert consensus of consumer protection organizations and public interest technology researchers. It is used by a wide range of organizations and product teams ot enable comparative evaluations of connected products and services. 


  • The goal of The Digital Standard is to generate expert consensus on what is considered best practice to influence design and creation of connected products and services. We want to help companies stand out by building products that prioritize user values and help independent testing organizations recognize market leaders. 


At-a-Glance Information

The Digital Standard enables comparative evaluations of products across these emerging consumer values:


  • Privacy: Products should preserve consumer privacy. Consumer information that is collected by any product or service should be safeguarded and kept private. 


  • Security: Products should be built to be secure. Electronics and software-based products must implement security best practices to reduce the risks from attackers, malware, and other threats. 


  • Ownership: Products should protect the idea of ownership. When consumers buy products, they should be able to alter, fix or resell them. 


  • Governance: Companies should act ethically. Their products should be designed to help protect freedom of expression, address accessibility, and combat harassment.


Each category is broken into subcategories, and each sub-category contains test names, criteria, indicators, and procedures. 

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