Original Paper

Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 29-38

First online:

e-Trust and reputation

  • Thomas W. SimpsonAffiliated withFaculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge Email author 

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Trust online can be a hazardous affair; many are trustworthy, but some people use the anonymity of the web to behave very badly indeed. So how can we improve the quality of evidence for trustworthiness provided online? I focus on one of the devices we use to secure others’ trustworthiness: tracking past conduct through online reputation systems. Yet existing reputation systems face problems. I analyse these, and in the light of this develop some principles for system design, towards overcoming these challenges. In providing better evidence for trustworthiness online, so we can also encourage people actually to be trustworthy more often, which is an ethically welcome outcome.


e-trust Internet Reputation systems Trust Trustworthiness