The ID Coach has this quote at the top of her current blog post:
…trust indices in the Western world are at an all time low. We don’t trust our lawyers, or accountants — they shred lots of documents. Many believe that bankers recently brought the world economic system to its knees in the crisis of 2008 and subsequent recession. Most people aren’t too enamored of politicians, either.
It is from the current issue of the Harvard Business Review in an article about trust.
It makes another very clear point about why leading with the word “trust” to describe “trust frameowrks” when the institutions touting them are the very ones that people have skepticism about (lawyers, accountants, bankers) as a good way to solve all our problems online by having people prove who they are.
People don’t want to accept “trust” blindly form these institutions they want to understand how it works and then decide if they do trust it or not. Asking questions about accountability seems much easier to be concrete about the actual mechanics that then may are may not be trustworthy.
There are many websites that I visit that I “trust” not to download malware onto my computer when I click on a link. However, I don’t first do an analysis to determine how “accountable” they are in case some piece of malware does, in fact, get downloaded. I base my trust instead on my belief that they are a “reputable” site, and would not purposely host malware.
On the other hand, I trust my bank to keep my money safe, and if someone is able to hijack my bank account and transfer the money out, I will hold my bank accountable.
I think you need to distinguish between low value and high value services. I’ll trust a provider of low value services based on reputation, without demanding any accountability. But I won’t trust a provider of high value services without that accountability if somehow trust is breached.
For low value services, trust is based on reputation. For high value services, trust is based on accountability.