Innovation places trust in Web site selection in users’ hands

Posted on: March 1, 2006

Alla in the news continued. This was my Master’s thesis, and I am still working on it. Again from Indiana University School of Informatics:

As more people navigate their way through the often-murky ocean of the Internet to buy, sell and conduct other business, many are finding it increasingly difficult to steer a course away from fraud and other types of deception.

That’s one of the reasons L. Jean Camp, associate professor at the Indiana University School of Informatics, has designed Net Trust, a system that allows individuals to select their own trusted sources of information and to rate particular sites as trustworthy or not. Camp recently received a $37,000 grant from Google to support system development.

“Impersonation is easy on the network because Web sites are presented without social, geographical or physical context,” says Camp, an expert on privacy issues and how information technology affects individuals and society. “A myriad of technical solutions have been proposed to solve the problem of people judging a Web site, but none of them have been based on sound social as well as technical foundations.

“Net Trust allows users to share their own information, and to determine if a Web site is authentic,” Camp explains.

Net Trust uses ratings from users’ social networks and from user-selected third parties. Net Trust informs user decisions, as opposed to altering security settings. End users select a set of roles and a corresponding set of people for each role, such as co-workers or family members.

When users leave each Web site, they choose whether they want to share information about sites they have visited. The user sends out a flow of information using a rich-site summary, a format for syndicating Web content (often referred to as RSS news feeds), but that feed is not associated with an identifiable user.

“Essentially Net Trust adds context to the browsing experience in order to provide explicit trust information,” says Camp, who is affiliated with the IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. “This application does not offer a trust decision for the user, but provides information to enable the user to make that decision.”

Camp’s development of Net Trust was initiated when she was on faculty at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. She has been assisted in her research at IU by Alla Genkina, a School of Informatics graduate student.

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Alla Zollers

I design products and services that just. make. sense.

When products make sense, customers are happy.

If customer are happy, they sign-up, stay on site, engage, share, and buy your product or service.

Happy customers allow companies to profit in both senses of the word.

I provide the following services:

• Heuristic Evaluations
• Discovery Research
• Strategy and Vision Development
• Information Architecture
• User Experience Design
• Usability Testing

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