The death of trustworthiness?

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A popular meme character, Futurama Fry, poking fun of trustworthiness online. Source: http://memegenerator.net/Futurama-Fry

In “Role of Trust in Cyberspace”, Clark states that cyberspace comprises of both technology and people, and this is similarly echoed by Mikko and Eleni (“Communities, Communication, and Online Identities”) that cyberspace is non-existent without inhabitants like us all. Indeed, no discussion about cyber places can be continued without ever mentioning its users and the important role trust plays in their social interactions.

Every day, we hear and/or read instances of consumer data being compromised from hacking breaches, sites prying into their users’ profiles, and platforms under siege from virus attacks that it is somehow becoming more challenging for users to have complete faith in these online sites. News of people falling prey to malicious online scams and warnings issued against Internet fraud are now commonplace and it seems as though users are increasingly wary and untrusting when it comes to sharing information online. This begs the question: are users becoming less trustworthy of cyberspace?

On one hand, we see users installing ad-blockers on their web browsers, hoping that doing so keeps out unwanted advertising content and protects their privacy online. On the other hand, more users are downloading numerous anti-virus software that promise a comprehensive lifetime protection and even going the extra mile to invest in multi-factor authentication for a second line of defense. While such actions demonstrate an obvious lack of trustworthiness in our cyber-society today, we continue to see new social media and mobile gaming platforms gaining steam and users jumping on the bandwagon to explore them firsthand. In order to play the highly-popular Pokemon Go, players have to disclose their precise geographical locations to be informed of the latest alerts on nearby Pokemons and Pokestops.

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A user playing Pokemon Go while on the move. Source: http://giphy.com

On Telegram, users openly enter their contact information and share their contacts in instant messages, all on the premise that the messaging service offers the “fastest and most secure…system in the world”. This thus leads us to think and perhaps conclude that, users are not becoming less trustworthy of cyberspace but rather, they are increasingly trustworthy or even apathetic, of the design of these cyber platforms’ security systems.

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