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Consumer Reports to test products for privacy, data security

Consumer Reports to test products for privacy, data security
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Consumer Reports is going to begin evaluating products for privacy and data security, the U.S. nonprofit product review group said on Monday. 

Consumer Reports has partnered with cybersecurity experts to develop an industry standard for testing devices for security and consumer data protection, an initial version of which is posted online to solicit feedback. 

“We’re now launching the first phase of a collaborative effort to create a new standard that safeguards consumers’ security and privacy — and we hope industry will use that standard when building and designing digital products such as connected devices, software, and mobile apps,” the organization said in a blog post on its website.

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“The goal is to help consumers understand which digital products do the most to protect their privacy and security, and give them the most control over their personal data,” Consumer Reports said. “This standard can also eventually be used by CR and others in developing test protocols to evaluate and rate products — which will help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions.” 

The group collaborated with three organizations to develop the standard: privacy product company Disconnect, nonprofit research project Ranking Digital Rights and nonprofit software testing company Cyber Independent Testing Lab. 

“Together with our partners, we’re embarking on this ambitious journey to ensure that consumers remain in the driver’s seat when it comes to the safety and security of their personal data,” Consumer Reports President and CEO Marta Tellado said. 

The organization has posted the standard as a public document online and wants members of the technology community to offer feedback. 

The announcement comes after a Consumer Reports survey released in January found that a majority of Americans are not confident in the privacy of their personal data.