Virtual Library

Our research repositories present a collection of open-source resources that showcase research and analysis that has directly influenced our initiatives. Non-IST publications are copyrighted by external authors not affiliated with IST.

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Reports

To the Point of Failure: Identifying Failure Points for Crisis Communications Systems

Leah Walker, Alexa Wehsener

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Reports

Mapping the Ransomware Payment Ecosystem: A Comprehensive Visualization of the Process and Participants

Zoë Brammer

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Reports

Plan maestro de defensa contra los programas de secuestro

Grupo de Trabajo sobre Programas de Secuestro

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Reports

Cyber Incident Reporting Framework

Cyber Threat Alliance, Institute for Security and Technology

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Reports

Digital Tools, Cognition, and Democracy: A Review of the Literature

Zoë Brammer, Sage Miller, Leah Walker

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Reports

Reasoning: How digital technologies influence decision making and judgment

Stephanie Rodriguez

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Reports

Attention: How digital technologies influence what we notice, what we focus on, and how we learn

Stephanie Rodriguez

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We also welcome additional suggestions from readers, and will consider adding further resources as so much of our work has come through crowd-sourced collaboration already. If, for any chance you are an author whose work is listed here and you do not wish it to be listed in our repository, please, let us know.

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Modulating Trust

Leah Walker and Zoë Brammer

SUMMARY

Social trust – trust in other people and institutions – is critical to the DCDI problem set. But trust is not always beneficial. Although trust in technology can facilitate economic transactions, it can also diminish our capacity for skepticism. Consumers tend to prefer to use technologies that they trust, and sellers and developers of technology find more success when there is more trust in their systems. Yet trust placed too freely in technologies can also generate vulnerabilities for those same consumers–to identity theft, to addiction, to misinformation, and to fraud. Misplaced trust in online information and sources of online information can create vulnerability to disinformation, affective polarization, and anti-democratic behavior.

The key findings of the DCDI research into trust include:

  • People are increasingly dependent on, and distrustful of, digital technology—however, they don’t behave as though they mistrust technology. Rather, people continue to use technology intensively in all aspects of daily life, despite the risks and manipulation of which they are aware.
  • The democratization of truth, the idea that everyone can have their own truth, rather than deriving it from a few reputable sources, can destroy the notion of objectivity and shared beliefs. Instead, people choose beliefs based on group identity and rationalize false beliefs to avoid cognitive dissonance.
  • Humans are programmed to trust those closest to them the most. This can also mean trusting those who they identify with the most. This phenomenon can extend to influencers, with nano influencers in particular exploiting the human inclination to trust that which is near and dear, thereby building up devoted followings of like-minded individuals. The role that someone plays within an ingroup perpetuates certain behavior, and thought leaders get bigger rewards (e.g. followers, money through Patreon, or merchandise sales) for promoting more extreme or more polarizing content.
  • Digital technologies are affecting the cognitive processes that comprise trust, including memory, attention, and reasoning.
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