13
Aug/02

Trust, Anti-Trust and Trustworthy Computing


Not trademark law but I couldn’t resist raising my hand in class:

Dave wonders aloud:

“What is the origin of the word “trust” in the context of “anti-trust” or “trust-busters.” What does it have to do with the word trust, as in “trustworthy computing.”

The Sherman Anti-Trust Act and Teddy Roosevelt, the trust-buster, targeted “trusts” and other “combinations,” using ‘trust’ to roughly mean cartel or some other formal or informal agreement among competitors to pool assets or otherwise restrain trade.  Here’s some background with photos.  This is related to and but not precisely the same sense as the legal instrument, the trust, in which assets are placed under the stewardship of the trustee, who performs under a duty of care to the beneficial owner of the assets (such as the spendthrift trust).

When Bill Gates speaks of trustworthy computing, he is using it as an umbrella concept covering reliability, security and availability. I would say his use is more analogous to the trustee concept – we deposit the asset (our credit card number) with the computer system and expect that the system will execute its function under a duty of care to us (not disclose or lose the credit card number).

The trust as cartel meaning is just an unfortunate coincidence.

 

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