[ONLINE] - WARNING: This Label is Really Important

From Broadband to IoT, the Next Generation of Consumer Nutrition Labels

Consumer labeling schemes are an important component of consumer protection—they create mandatory and standard disclosures that consumers can rely on when selecting products and services. The label that probably comes to mind for most is the standardized Nutrition Facts label, which debuted in 1994 after a mandate by the USDA, that appears on all food packages in the United States. However many other industries currently use or are examining the future use of standardized labeling to help customers compare between different products using the same set of criteria. In August 2021 the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $1.2 trillion package that, as part of its funding for broadband infrastructure and affordability, requires ISPs to adopt a “broadband nutrition label,” an idea first proposed by OTI in 2009. 

Join New America’s Open Technology Institute and Consumer Reports for a two-part panel exploring how successful consumer labeling systems have been used across a wide range of industries in the United States and internationally, and how emerging proposals for consumer labeling in the digital world can provide similar benefits.

Follow the conversation online with #ConsumerLabels, and by following @OTI and @ConsumerReports.

Panel 1

Some labeling models have been more successful than others, but across multiple industries there are cases where consumers expect to see a specific set of information included on every product they buy. In this discussion, advocates and experts in food safety, sustainability, and product repair will examine how existing consumer labeling systems have been designed and implemented, and discuss how lessons learned from those processes could inform the labels of the future.

Brian Ronholm, @DCGiant
Director of Food Policy, Consumer Reports

Dr. Quinta Warren, @DoctorQuinta
Associate Director of Sustainability Policy, Consumer Reports

Kyle Wiens, @kwiens
CEO, iFixIt

Justin Hendrix, @justinhendrix (moderator)
Editor, Tech Policy Press

Panel 2

The pace and scale of innovation in the digital market makes consumer disclosures and information even more important—yet traditional approaches may not be able to adapt. There are also political challenges in creating new mandates. In this panel, advocates and experts will discuss emerging proposals for consumer labeling, from broadband quality to IoT security—and invite discussion on design and political factors unique to these domains.

Sarah Morris, @sarmorris
Director, New America’s Open Technology Institute

Kasia Chimelinksi, @kaschm
Co-Founder, Data Nutrition Project and Affiliate, Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University

Pardis Emami-Naeini, @PNaeini
Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Washington

Jonathan Schwantes, @jonschwantes (moderator)
Senior Policy Counsel, Consumer Reports

This is a partnered event with: