The Swiss Digital Initiative, a Foundation initiated by digitalswitzerland in 2020, has created over the past two years, the first Digital Trust Label. The Label is a clear commitment to digital responsibility and empowers users of digital services to make better decisions and gives companies a tool to set them apart from their competition and commit to digital responsibility.
Digital services are increasingly part of every aspect of our lives. On a daily basis, we use them from checking the weather in the morning, to interacting with our bank, filing an insurance claim to grocery shopping. In all these interactions, we need to blindly trust that providers’ digital services are working reliably and protect our data. With almost daily news about scandals, data breaches and successful cyberattacks, trust is eroding.
On the other hand, providers investing significant resources and effort into providing safe and trustworthy digital services face difficulties credibly signalling those efforts to customers. Why should one service be considered by customers and regulators as more trustworthy than another?
The Digital Trust Label initiated by the Swiss Digital Initiative addresses both the problems of digital trust and accountability. It is a clear and easily understandable Label that denotes the trustworthiness of a digital service. It shows a clear commitment to digital responsibility, which not only provides customers with much needed transparency and additional information but also gives companies a tool to navigate a rapidly changing regulatory environment and set themselves apart from the competition.
The Label is issued on the basis of an in-depth audit conducted by an independent auditor. The auditor in turn bases his work on the Label criteria catalogue that was developed with the Swiss Digital Initiative’s main partner, EPFL, and experts from diverse backgrounds such as cybersecurity and consumer organisations. The feasibility of such criteria was then tested with the co-development organisations such as SwissRe, Booking.com and Swisscom. The Label criteria catalogue is the result of two years of expert work, user studies and public consultations and ensures practicality as well as leading expertise. To keep up with technological developments and market demand, the Label criteria catalogue will also be continuously updated.
The Digital Trust Label takes into account existing standards and regulatory frameworks such as GDPR and combines the dimensions of security, data protection, reliability and fair user interaction. This combination sets it apart from other Labels that might go into more detail in one dimension but cannot make a comprehensive assessment of trustworthiness. As such, the Label is particularly interesting for digital services where the question of digital trust is of importance, e.g. due to the handling of sensitive data or automated decision-making and other applications of artificial intelligence. For our overarching vision of digital trust, be sure to check out our Digital Trust Whitepaper.
The trend for growing importance of digital responsibility and digital trust is evident, not just by regulatory discussions and actions around the world but also by the fact that the Swiss Digital Initiative has identified around 50 like-minded initiatives globally. Labelling can act as a first step towards a trustworthy digital transformation by showing a clear commitment to digital responsibility.
How can you get the Digital Trust Label for your digital service? Once a company has identified a relevant digital service, the complexity, cost and duration of the audit is discussed in a scoping call with SDI and the auditor. With a price range of CHF 22’000 – 45’000, the Label is primarily designed for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business to business to consumer (B2B2C) digital services with a high user exposure.
After the audit is conducted, SDI experts will perform an additional check and decide on the label award. Once the Label has been granted, the service provider may use it for the audited service. The Label is granted for three years with two quality checks in between. Given technological progress, a repetition of the audit after the initial three-year Label validity period is highly recommended to show continued commitment to trustworthy digital services.