Since the EU GDPR took effect in May 2018, data protection through technology design (privacy by design) and data protection through data-protection-friendly defaults (privacy by default) have been obligatory for all companies that have customers residing in the EU. These concepts are based on the principle of data minimization. Implementing technical and organizational measures during the initial development phase (privacy by design) and choosing data-protection-friendly factory settings (privacy by default) for communication-enabled electrical products keeps the volume of personal data collected to a minimum.
Accordingly, the VDE Institute has developed new testing specifications that have been in use since January 31, 2021. They are intended to help manufacturers demonstrate the product characteristics of their devices and systems to users in terms of privacy by design and privacy by default. They test whether devices and systems were developed according to the principles of privacy by design, and whether these have data-minimizing default settings at the time of commissioning. In addition, basic requirements in terms of product documentation and information security are tested. For consumers, a certificate issued for these testing specifications serves as proof of due diligence as well as a quality characteristic.
The new VDE testing specifications have a broad application area that includes almost all electrical and electronic products and systems with a communication interface. Smart home products for personal use, such as washing machines, robot vacuum cleaners and language assistants, can now be tested along with devices for building technology and for the IoT (Internet of Things).