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May 11, 2009

Industry group formed to improve digital trust

Quartet behind broad Euro initiative

By CBR Staff Writer

Gemalto, Microsoft, Nokia and Philips are to back a two-year research effort to set out a vision for trustworthy devices, applications, services, and infrastructures.

The Trust in Digital Life Public-Private Partnership has been announced today at the Future of the Internet Conference in Prague.

The initiative aims to bring European public and private stakeholders together to promote alignment of public and private policies around digital trust and online privacy.

The companies said in a joint statement, “Consumers’ trust is key to the adoption and success of future digital services in industries such as communications, commerce, healthcare, and administration. Erosion of privacy and crime can seriously hamper the worldwide economic growth.”  

A recent study carried out by Unisys was cited as outlining the reasons why the partners believe such a study needs to be carried out in Europe.

Unisys last month reported that ID theft and fraud fears have surged in the last six months as recession bites. 

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According to its survey, two-thirds of consumers are now concerned about computer security and are worried about their safety and security when shopping or banking online. Four out of every five people are extremely or very concerned about identity theft, and suggest a need for biometric technology to verify their identities.

“These trust issues even surpass other fears outside the digital life such as national security and epidemics,” the statement read.

‘Trust in Digital Life’ will take a multi-disciplinary approach involving consumer, market, legal and societal aspects, and will accelerate research and development of trustworthy technologies and products.

Mario Campolargo, director Emerging Technologies & Infrastructures at the European Commission said “Industry, government and users must work together to promote trust and prevent malicious intent and crime.”

By presenting scenarios, or use cases, the group aims to illustrate how combinations of trustworthy ICT-related products can give effect to specific public policy goals.

These scenarios could be specific to a certain sector such as health or education, or they may highlight particular challenges of accommodating local values in a global infrastructure, such as jurisdictional aspects of location-based services.

Rather than focusing on trust per se, the group aims to focus on trustworthiness.

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