Making Trust work

Amardeo Sarma, Chairman of Trust in Digital Life, Oct 2013

A fair deal and trust requires a fair exchange of assets. In the digital world, this means that there must be sufficient mutual exposure and information to ensure this exchange in both directions: Payment vs. services or products. To make any transaction or purchase work, we need some amount of information or data to trust the other party to meet its obligations, such as to pay or deliver services. Some third parties may also need data to support a transaction. But trust needs confidentiality beyond that. Compromising data beyond what is needed or explicitly agreed via informed consent is a breach of trust.

This trust has been regularly breached, as recent events have highlighted. More than individuals, companies have reacted seeing their data possibly compromised. Cloud providers in the USA are feeling the pain more than others, to the extent that even potential contracts are being cancelled. This is accompanied by calls to move to Europe’s Clouds.

Commissioner Viviane Reding has made a point here: “Restore trust and boost growth” towards a “the Digital Single Market” in Europe. We have the opportunity to create a foundation for a future trusted digital world. We need a reliable, sustainable and Europe-wide ecosystem and legal baseline. All players need to get together and resolve their differences to ensure that the data protection regulation being discussed becomes a reality. The highest standards of data protection in Europe must apply all over Europe.

Within Trust in Digital Life, we work with industry and knowledge institutions to ensure that trusted solutions and services can be quickly deployed in a multi-stakeholder environment. Supporting migration towards higher data protection standards and promoting the development and use of privacy technologies are central in this context. TDL “sprints” will bring together companies and institutions to validate their technologies in small projects in a common ecosystem.

The technology and solutions are here to be used. We now need policy makers and all stakeholders in Europe to get their act together and make sure that we soon have the level playing field that we all talk about so often.

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