Trust the Internet? Sure and the Check Is in the Mail

May 3, 2024

dino-10-19-timeline-333-fix-4_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software involved.


When the Internet became common place in schools, students were taught how to use it as a research tool like encyclopedias and databases. Learning to research is better known as information literacy and it teaches critical evaluation skills. The biggest takeaway from information literacy is to never take anything at face value, especially on the Internet. When I read CIRA and Continuum Loops’ report, “A Trust Layer For The Internet Is Emerging: A 2023 Report,” I had my doubts.

CIRA is the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, a non-profit organization that supposedly builds a trusted Internet. CIRA acknowledges that as a whole the Internet lacks a shared framework and tool sets to make it trustworthy. The non-profit states that there are small, trusted pockets on the Internet, but they sacrifice technical interoperability for security and trust.

CIRA released a report about how people are losing faith in the Internet. According to the report’s executive summary, the number of Canadians who trust the Internet fell from 71% to 57% while the entire world went from 74% to 63%. The report also noted that companies with a high trust rate outperform their competition. Then there’s this paragraph:

“In this report, CIRA and Continuum Loop identify that pairing technical trust (e.g., encryption and signing) and human trust (e.g., governance) enables a trust layer to emerge, allowing the internet community to create trustworthy digital ecosystems and rebuild trust in the internet as a whole. Further, they explore how trust registries help build trust between humans and technology via the systems of records used to help support these digital ecosystems. We’ll also explore the concept of registry of registries (RoR) and how it creates the web of connections required to build an interoperable trust layer for the internet.”

Does anyone else hear the TLA for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in their head? Trusted registries sound like a sales gimmick to verify web domains. There are trusted resources on the Internet but even those need to be fact checked. The companies that have secure networks are Microsoft, TikTok, Google, Apple, and other big tech, but the only thing that can be trusted about some outfits are the fat bank accounts.

Whitey Grace, May 3, 2024


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