The Limits of Our Trust in Technology

This post could be titled the Dimensions of Trust, but I would rather try to give trust in technology some possible limitations and boundaries.  Common sense tells me that 21st Century conditions and the pace of technology changes may be a  challenge to traditional notions of trust, especially among generations or cultures that are new to it.  For starters, here are a few examples of some competing ideas and beliefs that affect my own trust.  ARE TECHNOLOGY DEVICES AND TRANSACTIONS:

  • true or false?
  • real or unreal?
  • safe or unsafe?
  • temporary or lasting?
  • trustworthy or suspicious?
  • crazy or sane?
  • private or public?

Or do we just blindly trust everything, regardless, and become more vigilant when we get hacked or compromised?

And if we do notice or care, how do we determine where the limits actually may be or where on a continuum they might fall, especially when confronted every day by unexpected or unusual Internet, Smartphone, and other financial and personal transactions.  First, a couple of facts that affect my own perceptions of trust and the my attitude about it:

  • The Internet is free – for all intentions and purposes.  (Yes we pay for connectivity, bandwidth, or usage, but the content itself is mostly free of charge – much like the advertising that we have traditionally become accustomed to on broadcast television)
  • Communication with other people and content providers is global – by default, and has few boundaries that we control or can readily determine.
  • Much of what happens on our devices is usually unsolicited or delivered to us unscheduled.
  • Some of what happens on our devices is a value added service from our device manufacturer or Internet provider – like hardware updates, for instance.

Here are some real-world examples of how these dichotomies are tested.

true or false?

The recent “fake news” epithet has attracted a lot of attention recently.  There once was a time in the not so distant past when most citizen trusted the editorial opinions and fact checking and verification of the mainstream media publishers and broadcasters.  All that changed very quickly when prominent public figures suggested that their enemies were engaging in disinformation campaigns using public as well as

safe or unsafe?
real or unreal?

When some of us purchased the newest Samsung Galaxy Smartphone in mid 2016, we discovered that there was a flaw in the built-in battery that overheated the phone and created a dangerous fire hazard.  The problem was so serious that many commercial airlines banned the device on their flights.  Samsung recalled and replaced the defective phones.  I doubt that this safety problem has deterred too many smartphone users from purchasing a smartphone, but it probably drove potential buyers to other less unfortunate brands.

temporary or lasting?

I don’t trust that a document or message that I want to save or archive will be available to me next year or in the distant future.  As predicated before the year 2000, the amount of information or data connected to each of us has exploded exponentially to the point where there is much more than we can effectively manage ourselves.  See : Some Stuff.

crazy or sane?

A relative tells me that he has recently turned off all activity to his smartphone because he has heard that criminal elements have found out how to spy on him.  He believes these thoughts.  I have no means of confirming or rejecting the claims.  The point is that he believes it and has changed his Internet and Smartphone communication activities as a means to improve his trust in the device, his provider, and the services he chooses to use or not use

private or public?

As Hillary Clinton found out, the ability to make your messaging private has its pitfalls, not just because she was a public figure, but because access to private services and systems requires an entirely different level of expertise and expense.  As well, the dark Internet, while hidden from public view, contains much content and many services that are unlawful, distasteful, and not for public consumption.

phony or genuine?

There are now so many (millions upon millions) of websites and online services that it may be impossible to really avoid scams, get rich schemes, socially engineered emails, fraudulent services,  and other phony attractions.  Experience seems to be the best teacher for these kinds of nuisances.  Effective anti-spam, malware, phishing, and ransomware software can be extremely helpful in improving trust since they make their living by continually updating knowledge bases about the bad guys.

trustworthy or suspicious?

I get an alert in a text message from my bank on my smartphone stating that a attempted transaction to my debit card account was declined.  I look at the summary and it makes no sense to me.  I don’t know the merchant, the amount is strange, and it has been charged against a former account number.  I immediately suspect that the message itself might be false or some form of cyber crime.  So I take time to login to my account with a computer and determine that the transaction actually happened.  Upon calling the bank’s 800 support number I am told that I had been issued a new card last month due to suspicious activity on my account (that I had not been aware of at all).

Well, make up your own mind.  Do you Trust Technology?  Are you attitudes changing with the passage of time?  The answers to these questions might very well be a predictor of new business opportunities and services to insure privacy and build better Trust.

Thanks to our friends at SafeJunction.






Trust Service Providers according to eIDAS

Trust Service Providers (TSPs) are an idea that has come of age in Europe.  The notion of individual citizen privacy is still in debate in the US given the fact that President Trump and both houses of Congress recently passed legislation that effectively eliminates public privacy in the digital world.

How Trust Service Providers assure identification of signatories & services by using strong authentication, digital certificates & electronic signatures

Source: Trust Service Providers according to eIDAS

Thanks to Cryptomathic

Phony VPN Services Are Cashing in on America’s War on Privacy


And now all of the respectable privacy services will become subject to greater scrutiny.

Source: Phony VPN Services Are Cashing in on America’s War on Privacy – Motherboard

Thanks to Motherboard

Outrage grows over Congress’ Internet privacy vote – Mar. 29, 2017

The Republican-led Congress has stirred the online hornet’s nest.

In a climate where the Trump Administration has stated commitments to “clean-up the mess in Washington” it seems curious that they – and the Congress – have eliminated all vestiges of online privacy.  The punch line seems to be the creation of “public” information systems where anything goes and then the potential for creation of numerous, lucrative business opportunities for elitist “private” information systems for the rich and others willing or capable of paying for it.  David Sarnoff and his son Robert would roll over in their graves.

Source: Outrage grows over Congress’ Internet privacy vote – Mar. 29, 2017

Thanks to CNN Tech

Shameless crooks fling Star Trek-themed ransomware at world

What is the world coming to? Obviously an off-shore exploit. No self-respecting US citizen – crook or not – would defile our national treasure Star Trek. To boldy go where no man has gone before. Hmmmm! Source: Shameless crooks fling Star Trek-themed ransomware at world • The Register Thanks to The Register

Source: Shameless crooks fling Star Trek-themed ransomware at world | The Cloud Is Huge 2.0

Thanks to The Cloud is Huge

What Can Be Gleaned From Trump’s Allegations of Wiretapping

“An accusation for which the president again offered no evidence sets off another spasm surrounding his young administration.”

SafeJunction holds the privacy of citizens and lawfully conducted investigations, including conversations, documents, and materials gleaned thereby to be of the highest importance in a free democracy.  We believe that an individual’s right to privacy in the conduct of lawful personal and business affairs is a right, not just a privilege to be taken lightly.

Source: What Can Be Gleaned From Trump’s Allegations of Wiretapping – The New York Times

Thanks to The New York Times

ISPs say your Web browsing and app usage history isn’t “sensitive”

ISP lobby groups make case against the FCC’s broadband privacy rules.

And now begins the nit picking argument about language and the meaning of terms in the law that govern enforcement and permitted acts that affect public communications and the Internet.  “Sensitive” is the favorite these days.  Its become the new speak for “privacy”, as if the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution doesn’t protect a citizens “sensitive” information or property.  Many of our long standing concepts about what is and what is not private are being turned on their heads by changes in surveillance technologies (read: security cameras and recording systems) and the new realities of 21st century living.

Source: ISPs say your Web browsing and app usage history isn’t “sensitive” | Ars Technica

Thanks to Ars Technica

Judge Has Doubts About Gmail Privacy Deal

Two proposed settlements involving Google drew very different reactions from two federal judges on Thursday in San Jose, with one headed toward approval and the other drawing a rebuke over the clas…

SafeJunction technology prevents providers like Google from viewing or analyzing emails in-transit or even after they are stored.

Source: Judge Has Doubts About Gmail Privacy Deal

Thanks to Courthouse News Service