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The Me2B Alliance is now Internet Safety Labs

Written by Internet Safety Labs

May 25, 2022

We are excited to announce the Me2B Alliance is now Internet Safety Labs. We’ve changed our name but not our core mission.

Here’s our new pitch.

We are Internet Safety Labs, and we’re on a mission to make technology safe for everyone.

We’re a nonprofit that creates safety standards for connected tech of all kinds and measures how safe it is.

Historically, almost every new technology and media sees the emergence of safety standards following soon after its commercialization. (E.g. telephones, automobiles, radio, TV.) Except the internet. Weird.

In fact, we don’t even have agreement about what safety is when using connected tech. The world’s early efforts have been focused on “privacy,” just one dimension of personal and societal safety. We need more. We can do better.

That’s where Internet Safety Labs comes in. For example, we’ve recently published our first Internet Safety Standard for websites and mobile apps. It’s a “minimal viable product” (MVP) specification—safety table-stakes, so to speak. It focuses on unavoidable, programmatic harms that exist mainly in the data flow and in the UX (user experience) of connected tech. We’ve developed a practical throughline from ethical principles around harm and safety to objectively measurable tests.

We don’t measure the behavior of companies. We measure the behavior of technology.

Changing our name doesn’t change the work that we’re doing. We continue to:

  • Create open safety standards for the internet.
  • Perform public safety research, with a current focus on:
    • K12 EdTech,
    • Data brokers, and
    • Dangling Domains
  • Provide auditing services for businesses’ websites and mobile apps.

Why did we change our name?

We wanted our name to more closely reflect our mission and our work: setting the standard for connected tech safety and performing independent testing & research on connected technology.  

We hope you’re as excited as we are and find our new name more meaningful and straightforward. We remain unrelentingly on the side of Me-s in both our Safety Standard and our product testing and research. For those new to terminology like “Me-s” and other shorthand we use, see our glossary here

Will you still be a member?

Our standards work will continue to be open to the public.  In fact, we’re making it even easier for interested parties to participate in standards by removing the membership requirement. We’ll always be positioned at the nexus between Me-s and B-s, with continued focus on the nature and dynamics of the Me2B Relationship. Me-s and B-s are inseparably the yin and yang of the Me2B relationship. Our standards and testing are always grounded in the safety and sensibilities of Me-s, yet simultaneously designed to help B-s build safer, better technology.  

For the past year and half, we’ve been operating as a membership organization. Thanks to all who have joined in membership! Starting now, we’re removing the membership barrier for participation.  

We currently have two Working Groups (WGs): the Respectful Tech Spec WG and the Policy and Legal WG. Going forward, there are a few structural changes: 

  1. We’re changing the name of WGs to “Panels”: 
    1. The Respectful Tech Spec WG will be the first of several Safety Standard Panels (SSPs). 
    2. The PALs WG will be the Policy and Legal Advisory Panel (sadly, a less charming acronym: PLAP).
  2. Participation will require application, approval, and agreeing to updated policies, like the previous membership process, but without a fee. 
  3. Panels will still be consensus-driven with voting, identical to current WG behavior. 
  4. Panels will be supported by Internet Safety Labs (ISL) staff, rather than by volunteer chairs. A minimum of two staff members will be assigned to each panel.
  5. We’ll no longer have elected Me- and B- board members.  

You can read the revised Operating Procedures here. We’ll be reaching out to all members when the new website is available to transition you to panel participant status.  

What’s happening with “Me2B”?

Me2B has always been—and will continue to be—shorthand for our overarching ethos. In contrast to “B2C”, Me2B conveys ideas of consumer empowerment and agency while in a Me2B Relationship. This agency must go beyond privacy concerns. The recognition and naming of the Me2B Relationship (especially digital Me2B relationships) remains a crucial lens for our ethical foundation, the Me2B Rules of Engagement. All of the tests in our safety standard map back to one or more Me2B Rule of Engagement, and it will always be our ethical north star.   

In short, the context of the Me2B relationship and changing lifecycle over time is a crucial (and previously missing) framework that allows us to more precisely measure consumer safety in connected technologies. It informs all of our work, from our safety standards to our product testing So Me2B isn’t going away and will always be a part of our vernacular.  

Forging the path of internet safety

As California and the EU increasingly turn their focus to monitoring and enforcing their regulation of technology behavior, we’re ready to provide support. We’re excited about our future as Internet Safety Labs, and leading the way toward measuring safety in connected tech.