The Digital Trust Label (DTL) denotes the trustworthiness of a digital service in clear visual plain non-technical language. It represents a mark of confidence that a service provider takes its promise of meeting consumer expectations seriously.
The Label empowers consumers with the knowledge and confidence to make informed choices.
The Label is a controllable and auditable list of guarantees which a service will provide. It is built on four critical issues for trust in the digital space:
The problem the Label addresses is the question of trust in the digital age. This is a complex question because trust is rooted in interpersonal relationships which are now increasingly mediated through technology.
The fact that there is a trust deficit in contemporary society and that this represents a huge challenge to the future is a widely recognized problem. Institutions, governments, businesses and civil society are all grappling with it in numerous ways.
The Label safeguards against conflicts of interest, not only by upholding criteria set by independent technical experts, but by providing independent and impartial mechanisms of verification and conflict resolution.
Behind its visual display lies a bundle of benchmarked technical and ethical criteria that have been verified and audited by an independent third party. Its standards and criteria were, and always will be, determined in a co-creation process involving academia, civil society, business and, above all, consumers.
The label is based on indicators organized in four categories representing important consumer values:
Those are found in the four principle at the base of the label organisation:
Together with its main partner, EPFL, SDI had already carried out the groundwork for the development of the DTL in 2019 and 2020.
The core of the Label, a sound catalogue of verifiable and auditable criteria, has been co-developed by a small Academic Expert Group (from the ETH, EPFL, Universities of Geneva and Zurich) on the basis of a user study on digital trust (conducted in November 2019). An independent Swiss-based testing, verification and certification specialist, the Société Generale de Surveillance (SGS), further developed the Label catalogue to make sure that it is auditable and verifiable.
Based on this first draft of the Label Catalogue, SDI conducted three main processes:
In addition to the work on the Label Catalogue, SDI has worked on the communication and visualization of the Label. Together with a market research firm, SDI conducted a user study in Switzerland, USA, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. This international investigation tested mechanics and determine success factors of such a Label from the customer's perspective. The end-result is the value proposition from a user’s perspective.
After more than one and half years invested in the co-creation process, SDI is now looking for a Swiss- or international-based implementation partner.
All this effort, particularly its openly interactive character, has allowed the Label to be defined clearly to the ecosystem it concerns at every stage of its development.
That all important co-development process in association with consumers, civil society representatives, service providers, technical experts and government, will never end. Because ongoing partnerships and mutually beneficial relationships form the bonds upon which trust in the digital realm depends.
Work and recommendations by a Label Expert Committee. The Committee’s work is coordinated by the EPFL Center for Digital Trust (C4DT). The members of the Committee are:
Axa, Canton Vaud, SBB, Swiss Re, Credit Suisse, Booking, IBM Switzerland, Swisscom.
Stiftung Mercator Schweiz
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