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
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions