In the influential book Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity, Francis Fukuyama argued that public values, especially trust, shape the direction of national economies. Among other things, Fukuyama shows how trust reduces transactions costs, and ultimately, economic friction. In a smaller way, being able to use a digital identity infrastructure to establish and capitalize on circles of trust within your organization, and between your organization and its partners and customers, may very well shape the direction of its success.
Trust is an important and yet tricky topic. Ultimately, every authorization made using a digital identity infrastructure is dependent on trusting that an identity and its attributes are correct. At the same time, trust is a concept that humans understand implicitly but have difficulty capturing algorithmically. Various mechanisms for establishing trust in identity credentials are available. This chapter introduces the notion of trust and the methods used to achieve it, but details of how those technologies are used to build trust are saved until later chapters.
In a digital identity infrastructure, trust occurs in a variety of places. Here are some examples of trust:
Trust that the identity credentials are held by the correct entity
Trust that the system I'm talking to is the one I want to talk to
Trust that my communication will be unaltered and private
Trust that the access control policy is implemented consistently throughout ...