Online Trust Alliance to merge with Internet Society

In-brief: The Online Trust Alliance, which has focused on issues related to privacy and security on the Internet of Things, is merging with The Internet Society, home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the groups said in an announcement Wednesday.

The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) and the Internet Society (ISOC) said on Wednesday that they will merge under the ISOC banner to help promote standards for security and privacy on The Internet of Things.


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Under the agreement, OTA will operate within the Internet Society and its will become Internet Society members. The merged organization will continue to expand OTA’s prior work like the annual Online Trust Audit and Cyber Incident Response Guide, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT) Trust Framework, the two organizations said in a statement.

“The Internet Society and OTA share the belief that trust is the key issue in defining the future value of the Internet,” said Internet Society President and CEO, Kathryn Brown in a statement. “Now is the right time for these two organizations to come together to help build user trust in the Internet. At a time when cyber-attacks and identity theft are on the rise, this partnership will help improve security and data privacy for users.”

The OTA was founded in 2004 in an effort to bring private- and public sector organizations together to develop and promote consumer security, privacy and trust. In the past, the organization has promoted efforts to fight spam and malvertising as well as the use of encryption on web sites. More recently, OTA has been a prominent voice on the need for security and privacy standards for smart- and connected devices on The Internet of Things. In 2015 it worked with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to publish a guide for would be home buyers to make sure they stay on top of the smart home provisioning and de-provisioning challenge.  More recently, the group published a survey of consumer facing IoT devices, analyzing how many discovered vulnerabilities in such products were avoidable. (Answer: 100%.)

With an estimated $40 million annual budget, the Internet Society is a 25  year old organization that is the home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It has 95,000 individual members and 122 Chapters around the world focused on Internet policy, technology and development.

In a conversation with The Security Ledger, OTA President and Executive Director, Craig Spiezle said that OTA’s focus on multi-stakeholder projects that yield “pragmatic and actionable advice” was what ISOC was drawn to. The group’s resources will give a boost to OTA’s efforts, he said.

“This is a complimentary partnership. ISOC has been focused on access and the backbone of the Internet. We’ve been focused on the impact of technology on users in areas like cyber security and privacy. “

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