Friday, September 28, 2012

Developing standards of trust across share-based services

This article by Paul Davis outlines the current challenges in creating trust across today's share-based services. With a mix of face-to-face and digital technologies, there’s a chance for a significant upgrade in our capacity to judge trustworthiness — and make that new capacity broadly available. The problem, he states, is that currently services each have their own methods and metrics for identifying the trustiworthiness of a participant. If we are to build a new economy based on share-based services and activities though we need methods and standards that can serve as an umbrella across those services. In today's wild west, the fact that each service uses its own system acts a disincentive for individuals because for every new service they engage with, they must jump through a unique set of hoops, pay another fee and release additional pieces of information in order to get to the prize. Over time, participants burn out and feel the pinch of proving their reputation before they even get to the service itself.

Reputation-based data aggregaters such as Trust Cloud and Legit Reputation Group are each taking this issue head on. In one combination or another they use verification of existence, transactional history, criminal histories, and social activity as their building blocks for defining reputation.

Critical questions for the group become how in any way do these data miners redefine a civic and democratic society? What conformity is mandatory in order to participate? What trade-off comes with that conformity?

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