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U.S. Experts Needed for International Standardization Work on Consumer Protection

Projects to Focus on Collaborative Economy, Privacy by Design, and Vulnerable Consumers


At the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Committee on Consumer Policy (COPOLCO) Annual Meeting in Geneva in early July, the COPOLCO Working Group on Consumer Protection in the Global Marketplace (WGGM) announced that it will develop new work item proposals on the following three subjects: the collaborative economy, privacy by design, and vulnerable consumers.

As the U.S. member body to ISO, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) invites relevant U.S. stakeholders who wish to be considered to serve as an ANSI expert to the WGGM for the development of one of these new work item proposals – or who wish to participate in a U.S. consultative group to support an ANSI expert on one of these subjects – to contact ANSI by the close of business on Friday, July 22, 2016.

Collaborative Economy
The collaborative (or “sharing”) economy is an emergent phenomenon with a growing need for consumer protection. COPOLCO stressed that rapid action is required, and an activity template was approved to identify key issues such as safety of and access to services; varying legal obligations, user liability, and consumer risk; data protection and privacy laws; difficulties of redress; and others. The WGGM will develop a new work item proposal, taking account of research and further discussions as the basis for a future workshop.

Privacy by Design
Following extensive work to identify issues related to the extent or lack of standards currently addressing privacy and protection of personal data, and the approval of this gap analysis, COPOLCO has invited the GMWG to develop a new work item proposal on digital design for privacy in goods and services. It was proposed that a consumer privacy network be established to contribute to the proposal’s development and to coordinate input into future work in the privacy area.

Vulnerable Consumers
Among those found to be most in need of increased consumer protections in many counties are some older adults, children, recent immigrants, and those with mental health problems – or “vulnerable consumers.” The WGGM has been invited to develop a new work item proposal on vulnerable consumers based on collective discussions of needs and analysis of in this area.

It is expected that the ISO COPOLCO WGGM will develop these proposals over the course of the next year, to be submitted for ISO membership voting following review at upcoming ISO COPOLCO meetings.

If you wish to be considered to serve as a U.S. expert to contribute to the development of one of the new work item proposals, or you wish to participate in a U.S. consultative group to support an ANSI expert, please contact Steve Cornish, ANSI senior director of international policy (, by close of business on Friday, July 22, 2016.

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