British Standards enter the electronic age with new digital Kitemarks

 

Senior Reporter

For almost a century it has appeared with reassuring mundanity on everything from manhole covers and condoms to fire extinguishers and motorcycle helmets, comforting the consumer that the product they are about to use is safe.

Now, the British Standards Institute’s famous Kitemark logo has at last been updated for the digital age. The right to display the respected design will from today be awarded to websites and smartphone apps that are able to prove they handle the data of their customers securely.

The first products to be granted a digital Kitemark are the Barclays mobile payment service Pingit, which allows users to transfer money to each other using just a phone number, and the bank’s own mobile banking service. The logo will look just as it does in physical form.

Although the digital Kitemark is initially being piloted within the banking industry, the BSI says it hopes it will eventually be adopted by a wider range of firms.

“More and more of us are now sharing confidential information through online shopping, mobile banking, booking flights, gaming, university applications or interacting with local government,” said Maureen Sumner Smith, BSI’s UK managing director. “These behavioural changes from the physical to the digital demand the need for even more rigorous security measures.

“Many organisations have good information security processes already established, but by having their systems independently tested on a regular basis as part of the BSI Kitemark process, they can clearly demonstrate to customers their commitment to safeguarding information.”

The Kitemark is now seen so often that most people barely even notice it is there, but it was revolutionary when it was first conceived. The BSI was established in 1901 at the request of Sir John Wolfe-Barry, the civil engineer who designed London’s Tower Bridge, becoming the world’s first national standards body. It met for the first time on 22 January 1901, the day that Queen Victoria died.

The Kitemark originated in 1903 as the British Standards Mark, when it was used to identify safe tramway rails after standardisation reduced the number of sizes available from 75 to five.

But the logo as it is known it today was first used on the wonderfully dull-sounding "Vitreous Enamelled Steel Reflectors for Lighting Fittings", manufactured by the US firm General Electric, which adopted it in 1926.

By the late 1950s and 1960s the international marketplace was flooded with consumer goods, many of dubious quality. In 1953 the Kitemark was applied to domestic furniture, pressure cookers and motorcycle helmets to guide people towards well made products. There are now more than 2,500 Kitemark licences held by companies all over the world.

The logo’s move online comes as Britons increasingly turn to the internet to carry out everyday tasks. Three quarters (74 per cent) of people now use the internet to do their shopping and more than half (53 per cent) of adults now bank online, according to the Office for National Statistics.

A recent report found that around 38 million adults, or around 76 per cent of the population, go online every day –more than double the number who did so when comparable data started in 2006. Separate research carried out for the BSI found that 30 per cent of people do not trust apps as a secure way to manage their money.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
New Articles
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Sport
sport
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all