CyLab receives a $250,000 gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to support research on IoT security and privacy labels

Michael Cunningham

Nov 9, 2023

Craig Newmark

Source: Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Craig Newmark, a Web pioneer and philanthropist best known as the founder of the classifieds ad site craigslist, announced the gift to support CyLab’s research on IoT security and privacy labels. Photo by Ian Gittler.

Craig Newmark Philanthropies has announced a $250,000 gift to support the Carnegie Mellon University CyLab Security and Privacy Institute’s research on privacy and security labels for IoT devices.

The gift was provided by Craig Newmark, a web pioneer and philanthropist best known as the founder of the classifieds ad site craigslist.

“We are grateful to Craig Newmark for recognizing the importance of helping consumers understand the security and privacy of the smart devices they bring into their homes and providing funding for our consumer-focussed research on IoT labels,” said Lorrie Cranor, director of CyLab and professor in CMU’s Software and Societal Systems and Engineering and Public Policy departments.

The gift will provide funds for Cylab’s IoT Security & Privacy Label project. Led by CyLab faculty members Cranor and Yuvraj Agarwal, associate professor in Software and Societal Systems, the project seeks to standardize a usable security and privacy label for smart devices to help consumers make informed choices about Internet of Things device purchases, and to encourage manufacturers to disclose their privacy and security practices.

Agarwal presented the CMU IoT label proposal in July at a White House event to launch a U.S. Cyber Trust Mark for IoT devices. Since then, the CyLab team has been working with industry and consumer groups to make recommendations on label details to the Federal Communications Commission.

“We’re conducting research to learn what consumers want from IoT labels and find solutions that meet consumer needs for information about both privacy and security aspects of smart devices while also working on the practical implications of introducing such labels, including verification of the stated practices and working with manufacturers,” said Agarwal.

After retiring from Craigslist in 2018, Newmark founded Craig Newmark Philanthropies with the goal of helping organizations on the frontlines of protecting America’s security and democracy.

To date, Craig Newmark Philanthropies has given more than $300 million in support of veterans and military families, trustworthy journalism and civic engagement campaigns, cybersecurity education programs, hunger relief, and pigeon rescue.

“The work done at CyLab helps Americans protect themselves, their families, and the country from cyber-related crime and cyberattacks directed against the country,” said Newmark.

CyLab researchers are often called upon by government leaders to provide expertise on security and privacy issues. Their work in helping shape public policy related to security and privacy spans two decades.

Learn more about CyLab’s research initiatives, and check out CyLab’s Year in Review collection to read about research highlights and other security and privacy-related activities from the past year.