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Re: Trust and Transitivity

(Not sure if this a libtech-l discussion, or why I'm copied, or who these
folks are, but here's my reply anyway.)

At 6:51 PM -0700 5/23/97, Nick Szabo wrote:
>Whether trust is, as Ed Gerck argues, non-transitive, and whether
>it is a leap of faith to delegate, depends on who we are trusting
>with what.   "Public key X is bound to Alice" is clearly different
>than "I trust Alice to certify public key Y is bound to Bob", not
>to mention trusting Alice to certify anybody, much less trusting
>Alice generally with anything.  The lack of specificity in discussions
>about "trust" often ends up implying far more trust than is really
>needed to solve a problem, as well as far more than can be realistically
>expected on the global Internet.

This problem was largely dealt with in the Dempster-Shafer work on
propagation of beliefs.

I urge folks interested in the degree to which beliefs are transitive,
including beliefs in trust, reliability, goodness, honesty, etc., to look
at this work. Any search engine will turn up online articles and pointers
to the original and later work.

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."