Trust – the truth of our identity

Such a big word.

This Sunday our minister spoke of Mark 5:20-43 and how we must trust in Jesus.

Her evocative sermon provoked a wider or is it broader question,

“What is Trust”.

First we must ask the classic question what does the Dictionary and Wikipedia say. This then leads us to have to think of the use of the term. Are we using it to describe a legal structure, the nature of a business, a computational concept or the name of a film, song or other human creation?

Given this discussion started as a result of a sermon, the best approach is to consider the social and emotion context of trust. Understand the sociology, psychology, philosophy, economics and systems perspective, may offer clarity to the words “we trust … “. In the first paragraph the Wikipedia authors condensed a lot of thought into a short paragraph. {formatting of my doing}.

Definitions of trust typically refer to a situation characterized by the following aspects:

  • One party is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future.
  • In addition, the abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee.
  • As a consequence, the is uncertain about the outcome of the other’s actions; they can only develop and evaluate expectations.
  • The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired.

In this flow of thought it is clear this word trust carries with it risk. It assumes we are thinking of tomorrow and there is an expectation the trustee will act in a manner that is consistent with our “the trustors” wishes, hopes and desires.

Vladimir Ilych Lenin expressed this idea with the sentence “Trust is good, control is better”.

In the field I have spent the better part of my life, computers have played a big part. Be it as a tool we programmed to perform a function or task. Or, the systems supporting the products and services we sought to promote. More recently, as we look to this global village we are a member of. We think about the need to establish mechanisms to assure trust between parties. Parties who probably will never meet, in person or even by chance speak to. We must therefore establish acceptable social and psychological mechanism with machines which we inherently are wary of.

Looking to the sociology of trust set of sentences stands out

“It does not exist outside of our vision of the other. This image can be real or imaginary, but it is this one which permits the creation of the Trust.” … “Because of it, trust acts as a reductor of social complexity, allowing for actions that are otherwise too complex to be considered (or even impossible to consider at all); specifically for cooperation.”

All of this leads one to wonder how in a anonymous world can trust be established.

Trust is specifically valuable if the trustee is much more powerful than the trustor, yet the trustor is under social obligation to support the trustee.

In a social context this thought offers a view as to the dominance a position the trustee must have in society. It also frames the responsibility and the obligation established by the trustor in the trustee.

This then leads one think about Multi-Factor Authentication. MFA is emerging as the standard method companies are used to assure one of degree of “trust”. Trust in a claim of the identity of another, be it a customer, employee, citizen or recognized guest.

Is this enough? How can a company be assured of the identity of an individual? How can we, a third party, accept the claims or attributes offers when they are presenting themselves to us. Especially when they present themselves across a global digital highway, prone to the nefarious acts of those who seek to take advantage and profit.

Proof of identity therefore becomes the primary means of establishing trust in an seemingly anonymous space – Cyber Space. This need for proof of identity is the role of the Trustee. These parties who we instinctively have faith in can give us the ability to trust in the claims of identity and the associated attributes representing the characteristics, assets and relationships a person has.

For now I will stop. The next step is to think of and look at words. enrollment, proof, identification,registration, identifier, authentication, rights, privileges, claims, certificates and authority.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close