The Fate of Online Trust in the Next Decade
Posted in: Internet Use/New Technologies at 11/08/2017 20:35
Many experts say lack of trust will not be a barrier to increased public reliance on the internet. Those who are hopeful that trust will grow expect technical and regulatory change will combat users’ concerns about security and privacy. Those who have doubts about progress say people are inured to risk, addicted to convenience and will not be offered alternatives to online interaction. Some expect the very nature of trust will change.
Trust is a social, economic and political binding agent. A vast research literature on trust and “social capital” documents the connections between trust and personal happiness, trust and other measures of well-being, trust and collective problem solving, trust and economic development and trust and social cohesion. Trust is the lifeblood of friendship and caregiving. When trust is absent, all kinds of societal woes unfold – including violence, social chaos and paralyzing risk-aversion.
Trust has not been having a good run in recent years, and there is considerable concern that people’s uses of the internet are a major contributor to the problem. For starters, the internet was not designed with security protections or trust problems in mind. As Vinton Cerf, one of the creators of internet protocols, put it: “We didn’t focus on how you could wreck this system intentionally.”