trust [English]

Other Languages

Language Notes

In English, some distinguish between trust and confidence. The former is associated with the sense of an agent, as in a financial trust. The latter with things and processes, as in trustworthy systems.

Syndetic Relationships

InterPARES Definition

n. ~ 1. Confidence of one party in another, based on alignment of value systems with respect to specific actions or benefits, and involving a relationship of voluntary vulnerability, dependence and reliance, based on risk assessment.
— v. ~ 2. To have confidence in another party with respect to specific actions or benefits.

General Notes

Trust is subjective, as indicated by the fact that one describes individuals on a scale that ranges from trusting (to the point of gullibility) to skeptical (to the point of paranoia or conspiracy theory).

Other Definitions

  • Franks et al. 2016 (†754 ): Confidence of one party in another, based on alignment of value systems with respect to specific actions or benefits, and involving a relationship of voluntary vulnerability, dependence and reliance, based on risk assessment.
  • OED Web 2018 (†401 s.v. "trust"): n. ~ 1 a : assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.
    – v. ~ 2.a. (trans.) To have faith or confidence in; to rely or depend on. – 4. To give credence to, believe (a statement); to rely upon the veracity or evidence (of a person, etc.) – 5. To commit the safety of (something) with confidence to a place, etc., to or with a person; to entrust; to place or allow (a person or thing) to be in a place or condition, or to do some action, with expectation of safety, or without fear of consequences. – 6. To invest with a charge; to confide or entrust something to the care or disposal of.


  • AJS 2012 (†421 6 AJS Trusts §1 ): [As addressed in AJS, "trusts" is limited to financial trusts. - JHS] (†928)
  • Bunn 2016 (†842 p. 3): Researchers in NA11 considered the concept of trust and . . . [identified] three categories of trust; calculated, relational and cognition-based and developed a risktrust assessment model looking at the factors involved that might influence a decision to trust or not, e.g. social influences, personal disposition, familiarity, structural assurances, technology acceptance and so on. (See NA11_20150109_HistoricalStudyCloudServices_InternationalPlenary2_Report_Final. pdf). (†2228)
  • Castelfranchi, et al 2001 (†508 ): In recent research on electronic commerce trust has been recognized as one of the key factors for successful electronic commerce adoption. In electronic commerce problems of trust are magnified, because agents reach out far beyond their familiar trade environments. Also it is far from obvious whether existing paper-based techniques for fraud detection and prevention are adequate to establish trust in an electronic network environment where you usually never meet your trade partner face to face, and where messages can be read or copied a million times without leaving any trace. . . . With the growing impact of electronic commerce distance trust building becomes more and more important, and better models of trust and deception are needed. (†792)
  • Cohen 2013B (†274 ): I think the notion of more or less trusted implies the decision of the reader, not the system of records. The system of records should provide the basis for trust. A court order as the basis for the records, along with the related chain of custody data and testimony of the person who was used to introduce the records would be a good start. Presumably, the records as presented would have a symbol associated with the legal process and drill down would give the exact testimony and copies of the related documents supporting that testimony, and other provenance information, which could be studied recursively. (†236)
  • Cohen 2014A (†458 ): In essence, you are calling trust the same as confidence. The notion of the associated basis is problematic, but the involved relationship is sensible and I have seen it used elsewhere to good effect. The extent to which you are willing to be harmed by another. The concept that it is based on a risk assessment is problematic as well. I would lean toward "the willingness to sustain a loss" - perhaps adding "at the hands of a particular party". As an aside, the use of an email I sent which includes, at the bottom, "-This is confidential to the parties I intend it to serve-" as a reference in what is intended to be an open database published widely might reasonably be considered a breach of trust (I was willing to sustain the loss of confidentiality at the hands of the recipients - and you are in the process perhaps of exercising that willingness without asking explicit permission). You should ask permission rather than assume it - and of course you haven't yet publicly distributed it... (†651)
  • Das and Teng 2004 (†406 87): The logic of risk, including uncertainty and probability, occupies an important position in defining trust. (†472)
  • Das and Teng 2004 (†406 98): It has long been recognized that trust cannot be understood without reference to probabilities. Having trust in someone does not imply 100% confidence in that person for any task and under any circumstance. Rather, subjective trust refers to the assessment of probability that the person will perform as expected. (†474)
  • Das and Teng 2004 (†406 95): [Das and Teng 2004] believe it is appropriate to group various definitions of trust in terms of three underlying constructs – (1) trust as a perception (subjective trust), (2) as various antecedents to subjective trust (trust antecedents), and (3) as the actions resulting from subjective trust (behavioral trust). (†473)
  • Das and Teng 2004 (†406 98-99): In brief, subjective trust and perceived risk can be jointly understood within the rubric of probability estimates and that the two concepts describe probabilities with contrasting mentalities. While subjective trust refers to assessed probability of having desirable action performed by the trustee, perceived risk is assessed probability of not having desirable results. Thus, subjective trust and perceived risk are like mirror images of each other. (†475)
  • Duranti 2013 (†408 ): In business, trust involves confidence of one party in another, based on an alignment of value systems with respect to specific benefits in a relationship of equals. In jurisprudence, trust is usually described as a relationship of vulnerability, dependence, and reliance in which we participate voluntarily. In substance, trust means having the confidence to act without the full knowledge needed to act. (†493)
  • Duranti 2013 (†408 ): Traditionally, trust in records is based on four types of information about their custodian: reputation, which results from an evaluation of the trustee’s past actions and conduct; performance, which is the relationship between the trustee’s present actions and the conduct required to fulfill his or her current responsibilities as specified by the trustor; competence, which consists of having the knowledge, skills, talents, and traits required to be able to perform a task to any given standard; and confidence, which is an assurance of expectation of action and conduct the trustor has in the trustee (†494)
  • Duranti 2013 (†408 ): The parameters of trust in one cultural context may be very different from those in another context. (†495)
  • Duranti 2013 (†911 p. 26): Traditionally, trust in documents has been based on trust in those who hold them in custody. The grounds for it are: reputation, which results from an evaluation of the custodians’ past actions and conduct; performance, which is the relationship between the custodian’s present actions and the conduct required to fulfil his or her current responsibilities; competence, which consists of having the knowledge, skills, talents, and traits required to be able to perform a task to any given standard; and confidence, which is an assurance of expectation of action and conduct. (†2735)
  • Duranti and Rogers 2012 (†278 p. 522): Trust has been defined in many ways but, at its core, it involves willingly acting without the full knowledge needed to act. It consists of substituting the information that one does not have with other information that supports confidence in the action. (†248)
  • Duranti and Rogers 2012 (†278 p. 522): Traditionally, trust in records is based on four types of knowledge about their creator and/or their custodian: reputation, which results from an evaluation of the trustee’s past actions and conduct; performance, which is the relationship between the trustee’s present actions and the conduct required to fulfill his or her current responsibilities as specified by the truster; competence, which consists of having the knowledge, skills, talents, and traits required to be able to perform a task to any given standard; and confidence, which is an ‘assurance of expectation’ of action and conduct the truster has in the trustee. (†249)
  • Franks et al. 2016 (†754 ): Progression of Trust · Mutual trust - sharing of common beliefs and expectations about expected outcome (Misztal 1996) · Social trust - mechanism for the exchange of mutual trust in group settings; interpersonal trust (Delhey and Newton 2003) · Fiduciary trust - existing, established motivation that exists without any reciprocal trust behaviours between the partners (Killerby 2005) ¶ "An individual can trust an institution, but the institution does not need to trust the individual for the relationship to exist." (Thomas 1998) (†1885)
  • Furht and Escalante 2010 (†583 p.24): Without physical control and access, the users would naturally question the security of the system. A comparable analogy to data security in a Cloud is in financial institutions where a customer deposits his cash bills into an account with a bank and thus no longer have a physical asset in his possession. He will rely on the technology and financial integrity of the bank to protect his now virtual asset. Similarly we’ll expect to see a progression in the acceptance of placing data in physical locations out of our reach but with a trusted provider. (†1155)
  • Furht and Escalante 2010 (†583 p.337): However, Cloud Computing also raises many concerns, mainly about security, privacy, compliance and reliability. When users move their data to the service provider data center, there is no guarantee that nobody else has access to this data. If the data is being stored in a different country, there can also be issues about jurisdictions for legal rights, and control of the data. Moreover, to date, there are no clearly defined Service Level Agreements (SLA) offered by the cloud providers. (†1186)
  • Hardin 2002 (†284 p. 1): One of the most important and commonplace [reasons for thinking someone trustworthy] is trust as encapsulated interest… On this account, I trust you because I think it is in your interest to take my interests in the relevant matter seriously in the following sense: You value the continuation of our relationship, and you therefore have your own interests in taking my interests into account. That is, you encapsulate my interests in your own interests. (†242)
  • Irwin Law (†378 s.v. "trusts"): [LAW] An arrangement under which money or other property is held by one person, often a trust company, for the benefit of another person or persons. These assets are administered according to the terms of the trust agreement. Each province has a trustee act, which regulates the kinds of investments that can be made by the trustees of a trust fund. (†404)
  • ITrust NA. Research Project 17 - Proposal (†392 2): The relationship between trusted and trustee is a negotiated one based on assumptions made about the information available and the perceived trustworthiness of that information. Those making the trust assertions must be armed with sufficient and appropriate provenancial and contextual data for their particular community. The required level of trust necessary to form acceptable trust assertions will depend on the community in which these actions are taking place and the socio-cultural protocols and policies, including laws and regulations, that direct the community. Protocols and policies also highlight both the rights and responsibilities wrapped into establishing trust. (†428)
  • Kelton, Fleischmann, and Wallace 2008 (†287 p. 364): There is a broad agreement that trust is a social and psychological phenomenon. However, there is considerable variability among different perspectives according to where each locates trust in psychosocial space. Trust has been studied on four levels: individual, as a personality trait; interpersonal, as a social tie directed from one actor to another; relational, as an emergent property of a mutual relationship; and societal, as a feature of a community as a whole. Thus, the individual level simply addresses the statement, ‘I trust,’ the interpersonal level extends this to the statement, ‘I trust you,’ the relational level broadens further to, ‘You and I trust each other,’ and the societal level expands it finally to, ‘We all trust.’ (†279)
  • Kelton, Fleischmann, and Wallace 2008 (†287 p. 364): The most common approach to trust, interpersonal trust, treats it as a social tie between a specific trustor and trustee. This relation is frequently defined in terms of an attitude the trustor holds toward the trustee, such as expectation of or confidence in the trustee’s competence, ethical behavior, or future actions. Some definitions also incorporate intent to act on such expectations. In addition to their use in interpersonal contexts, these models frequently form the basis of trust in an organization or an automated system. (†280)
  • Kelton, Fleischmann, and Wallace 2008 (†287 p. 365): For trust to be relevant in a particular situation, several conditions must be present. It is universally recognized that trust can only arise under conditions of uncertainty and vulnerability, i.e., when the trustor encounters risk, and when there exists a state of dependence between the trustor and trustee. (†281)
  • Kohn 2008 (†285 p. 9-10): [Trust] could be termed confidence, or reliance, as in the Oxford English Dictionary’s first definition of trust: ‘confidence in or reliance on some quality or attribute of a person or thing, or the truth of a statement’. Some theorists distinguish between trust and confidence, reserving trust for agents with intentions and confidence for things and processes. ‘I do not trust the sun to rise each day, at least not in any meaningful sense beyond merely having great confidence that it will do so,’ observes Russell Hardin; who is also careful to distinguish between trust and trustworthiness, the latter being what is indicated by qualities and attributes. But although some might find it wanting in precision, the OED’s definition is not at odds with the view that trust is an expectation about the actions of others. Its last part serves as a reminder that of all the actions that trust is concerned with, few are more critical than the act of telling the truth. (†243)
  • Krusten 2014 (†375 ): A recent article ... [Rein 2014] about administrative actions involving the National Archives’ Inspector General and players outside NARA drew predictable comments from ordinary readers who used simple political framing. But one comment zeroed in on the issue of trust.
    “An Inspector General cannot compel trust from those employees [whose?] concerns about agency operations he looks into. He or she earns trust within a critical mass of employees within an agency – or not. Trust is precious capital and the IG the sole accountable officer in handling the capital. The capital of trust lies in the hands of the official who holds an IG function alone. It is affected by far more than press coverage (which can help or hinder its accumulation) or issued reports. This applies to all Inspectors General, regardless of method of appointment. ¶ Trust depends on a delicate mix of elements. The opinions of outsiders (on the Hill, in the press) are irrelevant to the process of building or destroying employee trust. They are not dependents in the process. ¶ Trust cannot be built or rebuilt by compulsion or outside reporting or by the Hill. This part of the job every IG must (or should – it cannot be required despite being a critical element) face on his or her own from the time he or she first assumes a position in an agency or department. Trust in an IG is solely employee-owned, employee-granted, and employee-driven.
  • Krusten 2014 (†375 ): The tendentious reporting of issues in which I tangentially was a player in 1994 by virtue of having been made the subject of a complaint simply undermined my trust in the way the newspaper reported archival issues. ¶ I easily rebutted the allegation made about me in 1994. We do hold our reputations in our own hands, after all. (†380)
  • Leverich, et al. 2014 (†547 p. 5): Trust is only needed in a situation that is risky. Trust is believed to mitigate both perceived certainty and severity of unwanted consequences, thus reducing perceived risk. Common definitions of trust typically include words such as “depend upon” and “reliance on.” The use of words such as these link the discourse on trust with that on power as they indicate that the trustor relinquishes some amount of power to the trustee. . . . Trust may be viewed as a substitute for control in relationships. As such, the use of control measures in an interaction may express a lack of trust between parties. In the context of cloud-based services, undue exertion of power over users may severely damage the trust relationship between service providers and users. (†903)
  • Lynch 2000 (†391 46): It is important to recognize that trust is not necessarily an absolute, but often a subjective probability that we assign case by case. (†427)
  • Mancuso 2013A (†366 p. 2): Sandro Castaldo compiled over 300 trust definitions in the field, and displays the 72 more significant in a comprehensive table. (Castaldo 2007, 245-50) The author analyses the components of these definitions, classifying them in five groups: the construct (such as expectation, belief, willingness, and attitude); subjects (trustees); actions and behaviors (affective, cognitive and behavioral components); results and behavioral outputs (trust consequences, such as uncertainty reduction and commitment growth, among others); and risk (in decision making situations) (†370)
  • Mancuso 2013B (†367 p. 1): In the context of InterPARES Trust, the most relevant concept trusts relate to is probably fiduciary relationship (or duty). A fiduciary is “a person occupying a position of trust vis-à-vis another person”. (Irwin Law 2013) Fiduciary relationships arise in the domain of trust law specifically, but actually go beyond it. (†369)
  • Miller and Listhaug 1990 (†394 358): [GOV] Support for the political system has generally been examined in terms of two different dimensions - political efficacy and trust in government. (ref in original) These two dimensions provide a description or theory of the relationship between the citizen and political authorities and institutions. As originally formulated, efficacy was concerned with an input function, 'the feeling that individual political action does have or can have an impact upon the political process'. (ref in original) Trust, by comparison, deals with an output function. It reflects evaluations of whether or not political authorities and institutions are performing in accordance with the normative expectations held by the public. Citizen expectations of how government should operate include, among other criteria, that it be fair, equitable, honest, efficient and responsive to society's needs. In brief, an expression of trust in government (or synonymously political confidence and support) is a summary judgement that the system is responsive and will do what is right even in the absence of constant scrutiny. (†430)
  • Nickel and Vaesen 2012 (†407 858): The first conception of trust, taking its cue from Hobbes, sees trust as a kind of risk assessment involving the expected behavior of another person, for the sake of achieving the likely benefits of cooperation. The second conception of trust sees it as an alternative to calculative risk assessment, in which instead of calculating the risks of relying on another person, one willingly relies on them for other reasons, e.g., habitual, social, or moral reasons. The third conception sees trust as a morally loaded attitude, in which one has a moral expectation that one takes it to be the responsibility of the trusted person to fulfill. (†478)
  • NIST 2013 (†734 p.19-20): Ultimately, the responsibility for adequately mitigating unacceptable risks arising from the use of external information system services remains with authorizing officials. Organizations require that appropriate chains of trust be established with external service providers when dealing with the many issues associated with information system security. Organizations establish and retain a level of trust that participating service providers in the potentially complex consumer-provider relationship provide adequate protection for the services rendered to organizations. The chain of trust can be complicated due to the number of entities participating in the consumer-provider relationship and the types of relationships between the parties. External service providers may also outsource selected services to other external entities, making the chain of trust more difficult and complicated to manage. Depending on the nature of the services, organizations may find it impossible to place significant trust in external providers. This situation is due not to any inherent untrustworthiness on the part of providers, but to the intrinsic level of risk in the services. Where a sufficient level of trust cannot be established in the external services and/or providers, organizations can: (i) mitigate the risk by employing compensating controls; (ii) accept the risk within the level of organizational risk tolerance; (iii) transfer risk by obtaining insurance to cover potential losses; or (iv) avoid risk by choosing not to obtain the services from certain providers (resulting in performance of missions/business operations with reduced levels of functionality or possibly no functionality at all). For example, in the case of cloud-based information systems and/or services, organizations might require as a compensating control, that all information stored in the cloud be encrypted for added security of the information. Alternatively, organizations may require encrypting some of the information stored in the cloud (depending on the criticality or sensitivity of such information)—accepting additional risk but limiting the risk of not storing all information in an unencrypted form. (†1848)
  • NIST Security Reference 2013 (†414 p. 22): U.S Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap identifies in Requirement "the need to demonstrate that the required level of protection of Federal data can be provided in the cloud environment in order to inspire confidence and trust to a level where security is not perceived to be an impediment to the adoption of cloud computing." The document also emphasizes that the "cloud Provider and the cloud Consumer have differing degrees of control over the computing resources in a cloud system." Therefore the implementation of the security requirements becomes a shared or split responsibility among cloud Actors. (†509)
  • Rotter, 1980 (†477 p.1): “In the context of social learning theory, interpersonal trust has been defined as a generalized expectancy held by an individual that the word, promise, oral or written statement of another individual or group can be relied on." (†682)
  • Tsilas 2010 (†603 p.20): These consumer threats are not specific to the cloud environment, but they undermine consumer trust in the Internet and make it harder to realize its full potential. While individual consumers interact directly with the cloud through consumer-facing cloud services, they are also the customers, patrons, and taxpayers of the enterprises and governments seeking to transition data to the cloud. By strengthening user confidence in online services, improvements in online safety should have spillover benefits in terms of promoting the more rapid adoption of cloud services as well. (†1392)
  • Wikipedia (†387 s.v. trust (social sciences)): One party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future. In addition, the trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other's actions; they can only develop and evaluate expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired. Conceptually, trust is also attributable to relationships within and between social groups (families, friends, communities, organisations, companies, nations etc.). (†987)
  • Wikipedia (†387 s.v. trust (social sciences)): When it comes to the relationship between people and technology, the attribution of trust is a matter of dispute. The intentional stance demonstrates that trust can be validly attributed to human relationships with complex technologies. However, rational reflection leads to the rejection of an ability to trust technological artifacts. [Schneiderman, 2000] One of the key current challenges in the social sciences is to re-think how the rapid progress of technology has impacted constructs such as trust. This is specifically true for information technology that dramatically alters causation in social systems.[Luhmann, 2005] (†988)
  • World Economic Forum 2012 (†683 p. 5): High-profile data breaches and missteps involving personal data seem to be reported almost daily by the media. Tension has arisen between individual perceptions of harm and powerlessness versus organizational feelings of control and ownership. The result: a decline in trust among all stakeholders. Individuals are beginning to lose trust in how organizations and governments are using data about them, organizations are losing trust in their ability to secure data and leverage it to create value, and governments are seeking to strengthen trust to protect an individual’s privacy. (†1561)
  • Yeo 2013 (†380 footnote 3): Trust is a famously elusive and contentious concept, but for the purposes of this paper it can be broadly characterized as a state of confidence in some person or thing, or an expectation that some person or thing will prove worthy of confidence. The Oxford English Dictionary offers definitions of trust as ‘confident expectation of something’ and ‘confidence in or reliance on some quality or attribute of a person or thing, or the truth of a statement’. For fuller discussion of different understandings of trust, see Blomqvist, “Many Faces of Trust” and McKnight and Chervany, “Meanings of Trust.” (†405)
  • Yeo 2013 (†380 2): On a daily basis, we find that we trust others. If we get into a taxi we trust the driver to take us where we have told him we want to go; we trust that he knows how to drive the taxi safely and that other drivers can also be relied on to drive in a careful manner so that he (and we) will not be involved in an accident. […] In general, as far as trust is concerned, our attitude to records is not very different from our attitude to taxis, alarm clocks or €10 notes. We use them when we need them; we are aware that records can sometimes be fraudulent or unreliable, but in practice we do not always take the trouble to verify the records we use. "... Trust is a matter of risk assessment: if the risk is low enough, we will decide to trust the object or artefact concerned. But usually we are not conscious that we assess a risk; we are simply getting on with our lives. (†406)
  • Yeo 2013 (†380 p. 2): Trust is a matter of risk assessment: if the risk is low enough, we will decide to trust the object or artefact concerned. But usually we are not conscious that we assess a risk; we are simply getting on with our lives. (†770)
  • Yeo 2013 (†380 p. 3-4): It is often thought that trust issues in cyberspace mostly relate to social computing or ecommerce (how far can I trust the person I am chatting with or buying from?), but there are also concerns about software applications (can I trust software not to behave maliciously?) and about the data and information that are purveyed to us in the digital realm. Suspicions about the latter can arise partly because of the absence of many of the cues we rely on in assessing non-digital information, partly because of the increased scope for deception and partly because of the ease with which it is now possible to publish information that seems to be unsubstantiated, mistaken or improbable. (†772)