Lab Notes: October 2022

Consumer Reports and the Aspen Institute release new cybersecurity report

To kick off Cybersecurity Awareness Month, CR and the Aspen Institute teamed up to release the Consumer Cyber Readiness Report. The new report, which includes nationally representative survey results of more than 2,000 US adults, revealed progress in consumer behaviors that enhance cybersecurity and highlights where continued progress is needed. Read more about the report in Inside CybersecurityDark Reading, and NextGov.

The White House announces plans for a new consumer cybersecurity label

Consumer Reports recently participated in a multistakeholder White House meeting with representatives from industry, government, academia, and the public interest to discuss the rollout of a new consumer cybersecurity product label for IoT devices. A label would help secure consumer devices and provide Americans with greater comfort about the technology they use in their homes everyday, while also pushing industry to raise the standard of security in the products they build. CR is currently working to design and develop its own consumer IoT label. Read more here about this initiative.

Consumer Reports explores public interest auditing of algorithms

In the absence of proper oversight of algorithms, CR examined the “black box” nature of algorithms and how public interest auditing could help fill the regulatory void in a paper published earlier this month by Nandita Sampath. CR believes that public interest auditing can provide people with insight into how algorithms work, when they work, and when they don’t. But current laws often keep public interest researchers – such as journalists, academics, and concerned citizens – from investigating algorithms. The paper makes a number of policy recommendations that would help empower these researchers to discover potential harms of algorithms and inform the public.

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