Trust in technology

  • \(\bf Purpose\) We defend the notion of "trust in technology" against the philosophical view that this concept is misled and unsuitable for ethical evaluation. In contrast, we show that “trustworthy technology” addresses a critical societal need in the digital age as it is inclusive of IT-security risks not only from a technical, but also from a public layperson perspective. \(\bf Approach\) From an interdisciplinary perspective between philosophy and IT-security, we discuss a potential instantiation of a "trustworthy information and communication technology (ICT)": a solution for privacy respecting video surveillance. Here, strong data protection measures address grave concerns such as the threat of bulk biometric tracking of citizens. In a logical argument, however, we show that this technical notion of "trust" needs to be complemented by interlocking trust relations in order to justify public trust. \(\bf Findings\) Based on this argument, we demonstrate that the philosophical position considering "trust in technology" to denote either "reliability" or "interpersonal trust" is too limited as it fails to address critical aspects of IT-security. In a broader, socio-technical sense, however, we show that several distinct accounts of trust – technical, interpersonal and institutional – should meaningfully interlock, in order to address concerns with ICTs. \(\bf Value\) This conceptual study demonstrates the potential of "trust in technology" for a more comprehensive evaluation of ICTs within the context of operation. Furthermore, it adds to the discussion of trust in IT-security by highlighting the layperson’s challenge of judging a technology’s trustworthiness. Vice versa, it contributes to Ethics of Technology by highlighting crucial IT-security needs.

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Author:Sebastian Weydner-VolkmannGND, Linus FeitenGND
Parent Title (English):Journal of Information, communication and ethics in society
Subtitle (English):Interlocking trust concepts for privacy respecting video surveillance
Publisher:Emerald Publishing
Place of publication:Bingley
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2022/02/03
Date of first Publication:2021/08/16
Publishing Institution:Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsbibliothek
Tag:IT-security; ethics; philosophy of technology; privacy; surveillance; trust
First Page:506
Last Page:520
Postprint des Artikels, erschienen: Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Bd. 19.2021, H. 4, DOI:
Institutes/Facilities:Institut für Philosophie I
Dewey Decimal Classification:Allgemeines, Informatik, Informationswissenschaft / Informatik
Philosophie und Psychologie / Philosophie
faculties:Fakultät für Philosophie und Erziehungswissenschaft
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC 4.0 - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell 4.0 International