The IT Law Wiki


Trust is

the belief that someone or something will behave as expected, and not another way.[1]
[a] measure of reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.[2]
[c]onfidence that an entity will behave in a particular way with respect to certain activities (entity X is said to trust entity Y for a set of activities if and only if entity X relies upon entity Y behaving in a particular way with respect to the activities.)[3]
the belief that an entity will behave in a predictable manner while performing specific functions in specific conditions or circumstances.[4]
[a] characteristic of an entity that indicates its ability to perform certain functions or services correctly, fairly and impartially, along with assurance that the entity and its identifier are genuine.[5]


Trust is a cornerstone of electronic government, electronic commerce, and social interactions on line. With improved trust amongst participants, electronic delivery of government and business services can accelerate and higher levels of confidence can be achieved. This confidence can in turn encourage innovation in the online marketplace and create new ways of doing business. It can also encourage social interactions and the exchange of ideas between organisations and individuals, confident in the identities of those with whom they are dealing.

Without trust, individuals may develop a sense of vulnerability and insecurity regarding their online activities.[6]

"The success of the digital economy ultimately relies on individuals and organizations trusting computing technology and trusting the organizations that provide products and services and that collect and retain data. That trust is less sturdy than it was several years ago because of incidents and successful breaches that have given rise to fears that corporate and personal data are being compromised and misused. Concern is increasing, too, about the ability of information systems to prevent data from being manipulated; the most recent national election heightened public awareness of that issue. In most cases, data manipulation is a more dangerous threat than data theft.

"Technology advances almost always outpace policy developments. These scientific and technical advances change how our nation does business. They introduce new challenges and improve cybersecurity, but many organizations, if not most, rely on policies, frameworks, and standards that have not been updated to take these technological innovations into account.[7]


A key piece of trust online is confidence that privacy expectations are met. Even when the provider acts in good faith, a consumer who does not understand the provider's effort, will not gain more trust, and might very well walk away. User trust requires user understanding.


See also[]