Wrong Trust19 Nov 2007
Trust simplifies our lives. Human lives. Trust is a relationship that is build on emotions. If you trust someone, you expect him that he will behave in some specific way without being forced or highly motivated to do so. You rely that the feelings of the trustee will not allow to betray your trust.
Trust applies only to human beings. It makes no sense to think about trusting the computers. Computers do not have emotions, do not have feelings. Computers does only what they are programmed to do.
When you think that you trust your computer, you in fact trust a lot of people: engineers that designed and manufactured the hardware, architects and developers that provided the software, distributors that delivered the computer, network operators that maintain the network you have used to download the software ... and lots of other people involved with creating the thing that you are looking at just now.
We should not trust computers. Firstly, is not the smartest thing you can do. To trust the computers you have to trust the software developers at the very minimum. And that's a very foolish thing to do (been there, done that). Secondly, it makes no sense to trust non-human object.
The correct thinking is: How strong is my belief that my computer operates as I would expect? Belief is not a binary value and does not imply any emotions on the other (non-human) side of the relation. I pretty much believe there will be snow in the winter (there is, usually). But I do not trust the weather to bring the snow. I believe that a stone will fall down when I drop it, but I do not trust the stone to fall. Got the idea?
The consequence of this is that the usage of word trust in IT is all wrong. The names like WS-Trust or Trusted Computing are incorrect (although they sounds great from marketing perspective).
Maybe all of this sounds strange and simplistic, but I believe there is more to it. I will try to follow-up on this topic in the next blog posts.