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Re: acceptance&commitments over trust


At 04:08 PM 3/30/98 -0800, Tony Bartoletti wrote:
>Dispense for the moment with the word "trust".  Consider instead the term
>"enlightened reliance".
>Of course, we are interested directly with commitments, contracts and
>liabilities.  But any reliance on these *presumes* other fundamentals.
>"With whom did I commit?" "What evidence leads me to believe so?"  "How
>did this evidence come into my possession?"  "Through what channels?"

The only problem I have with your wording is that the word "whom" suggests 
to most people a name.  The answer to your first question is "the keyholder 
of key X at time T".  Tying that to "keyholder X at time T' " or to some
flesh&blood person is yet to be determined.  It is not always necessary
to tie (keyholder (X)) to any 3D-world person.

>Much of this seems beyond the immediacy of public keys, digital signatures
>and certifications.  It deals more generally with the underlying structure
>(or lack of structure) for managing the histories of evidence that lead us
>to make decisions regarding the employment of keys and certificates.


>At present, we float in a sea of data, and grasp at near-term facts that
>appear on the surface to support our decision-making.  We do this out of
>our (human) memory and generally ignore the historical dependencies that
>lead us to take as facts this data.  Too much baggage to hold onto using
>(human) memory, or to deal with using just our wits.
>And yes, as Bob Jueneman often puts it, "so commerce is impossible" ;)

It probably would be if it weren't for the fact that almost everybody
is honest.

>Of course we'll get by without a deeper decision-making foundation, for
>a while at least.  But as we delegate more and more decisions to software
>automatons, we may have to codify these reliance measures with a more
>comprehensive methodology.  Will Ed's stuff do this for us?  I don't know.
>I can barely understand it.  But I can't get myself to ignore it, and I
>won't ignore it simply because it makes my head hurt.

Ed's stuff is fascinating, but it strikes me as an intellectual exercise 
inspired by a false premise: that unqualified "trust" is something we can 
define.  My claim is that the word "trust" was used in crypto research 
papers the way a mathematician uses any variable in an expression.  It's 
intended for the user to fill in -- while the researcher didn't need to know 
what it means in order to show how sloppy crypto or protocols can violate it 
 -- which was the point of such papers.  My suspicion is that a bunch of 
people assume the naked word "trust" must mean something, so they're busy 
trying to define it carefully -- rather than use it as the unbound variable 
it was meant to be.

 - Carl

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