Category Archives: Respect Trust Framework

Listen to “Trust on the Internet” – and Watch “Adversaries to Allies”

The one-hour one hour Voice America radio episode Trust on the Internet is now available. Originally broadcast Wednesday March 27 as part of the Trust Across America series, it features Connect.Me and Respect Network co-founders Drummond Reed and Marc ColuccioXin Chung, CEO of TrustCloud, and James Varga, CEO of miiCard. Starting with an explanation of the Respect Network and the Respect Trust Framework, the show goes on to explain how Connect.Me, TrustCloud, and miiCard are all providing new services that enable individuals to carry portable, verifiable identity and reputation credentials across different sites, breaking out of the traditional “silos” of trust (eBay ratings, Amazon reviews, etc.) and enabling collaborative consumption and the sharing economy.

The show was hosted by Nadine Hack, CEO of beCause Global Consulting, who has her own expertise in building trust: she recently gave a talk called Adversaries to Allies at TEDx PlainPalais. Highlighting her work with Nelson Mandela and other key figures in industry and politics, she explains what it really takes to build bridges of trust. We are proud to have her as a Respect Network Trust Anchor.

March 27 Voice America Broadcast: Trust on the Internet

[UPDATE: The broadcast is now available online - see the post above.]

This coming Wednesday March 27 (9am PST, 12noon EST, 4pm GMT, 5pm CET), Connect.Me and Respect Network co-founders Drummond Reed and Marc Coluccio will join Respect Network Founding Partners Xin Chung of TrustCloud and James Varga of miiCard as guests of Connect.Me Trust Anchor Nadine Hack on a one hour Voice America online broadcast called Trust on the Internet. You can listen to it live or any time after the program at this link.

Nadine, who is CEO of beCause Global Consulting and Executive-in-Residence Emerita at IMD Business School, is one of the top 100 thought leaders in trustworthy business behavior. She has worked for decades on how to create and maintain engaged relationships to improve productivity and profitability, and has developed a framework Strategic Relational Engagement (read more here or watch here). Most recently Nadine gave a talk called Adversaries to Allies at TEDx PlainPalais.

On this program Nadine and her guests will focus on the work that Respect Network, Connect.Me, TrustCloud, and miiCard have been leading to build a more trusted Internet. They will discuss the Respect Trust Framework, the legal foundation of the Respect Network published by the Open Identity Exchange, and explain different aspects of peer-to-peer online trust infrastructure implemented by Connect.Me, TrustCloud, and miiCard, all of whom are Founding Partners in the Respect Network.

Please join us for what should be a fascinating in-depth discussion of this vital topic.

Trust Anchors: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

The Fifteenth semi-annual Internet Identity Workshop in Mountain View just concluded, and both Connect.Me and Respect Network were there in force (15 of the 20 Respect Network Founding Partners attended).

We showed the new Connect.Me interface and social business card features and started working on the first Founding Partner integration efforts (stay tuned for more on that in November). But the most fascinating discussions revolved around the unique role of Trust Anchors.

Trust Anchors are the highest of the four trust levels defined by the Respect Trust Framework upon which Connect.Me is based. To become a Trust Anchor, three other Trust Anchors must give you a special Trust Anchor vouch. And that vouch has a very specific meaning: I know you personally well enough to recommend you as a Trust Anchor and believe you will abide by the Respect Principles.

As usage of the new Connect.Me ramps up, we have seen an influx of new Trust Anchors — so many so that we started sending out an email to them explaining the Respect Principles and asking them to confirm they understood the responsibility they were undertaking.

The result was a fantastic dialog among the new Trust Anchors and many of the existing Trust Anchors. First, almost to a person the new Trust Anchors are thrilled that Connect.Me and the Respect Network are serious about building an Internet scale trust network rooted on people. Second, they agree with us that the only way the quality of the network can be protected is with human oversight and moderation — just like on Wikipedia. And third, they are very enthusiastic about stepping up to the job.

But they also raised several fascinating questions. The one that triggered the most discussion was: how much does the trust in a Connect.Me Trust Anchor extend beyond the bounds of the Respect Network? In other words, if you are Trust Anchor on Connect.Me, does this mean you should be expected to behave honestly and ethically on other networks like Facebook, Twitter, Empire Avenue, TrustCloud, etc.? Or in other online activity? Or offline activity, e.g., your professional or personal life?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. But there is an answer that we’d like to propose:


In other words, it would be a tremendous result if the meaning of being a Trust Anchor for the Respect Network meant that there was an increased expectation that you could be trusted to act honestly and ethically in all walks of life.

Of course there is no way to enforce this, nor would we want to try. But we would like encourage all Trust Anchors to aspire to this ideal. And to help do that, over the past 18 months we have nominated a set of individuals whose words and deeds embody the spirit of the Respect Trust Framework. We call them the Distinguished Trust Anchors. We invite you to review this group of 41 individuals and help us nominate others who deserve this distinction.

Ten for Trust: Trust Anchor Vouching In Your Own Words

After a six week bootstrap period, today marks the full start of Trust Anchor vouching on the Connect.Me private beta. Trust Anchors are the highest of the four trust levels in the Respect Trust Framework. Only Trust Anchors can give a Trust Anchor vouch. This blog post explains all about the special role of Trust Anchors, and this one explains the special value of a Trust Anchor vouch.

To mark this milestone, we are inviting any of first 676 Trust Anchors (or anyone who aspires to be one) to join us in doing a Ten for Trust blog post. The purpose is to put in your own words what a Trust Anchor vouch really means by listing ten people that you have or plan to give a Trust Anchor vouch to.

It’s a simple, public way to acknowledge the people who have earned special trust in your life.

A few suggestions:

  1. Put Ten for Trust in the title of the post to make it easier to find.
  2. Don’t feel you have to list exactly ten – list as many or as few people as you like.
  3. If the person you are listing is on Connect.Me, include a link to their page.
  4. Tweet a link to your post to us at @respectconnect using the hashtag #ten4trust and we’ll retweet it.

Here’s a list of Ten for Trust posts:

Note: from now until the European Identity Conference (April 17-20 in Munich), we’ll update this list with links to new Ten for Trust posts.

“Global Data Banking”: Are the Banks Really Ready?


A fascinating new proposal for digital trust infrastructure was announced this week at the annual Sibos worldwide banking conference in Toronto. Sibos is organized by SWIFT, the Belgian-based cooperative that operates the global banking network (the network the banks themselves use to exchange money).

The proposal is called the Digital Asset Grid (DAG for short). Veteran financial technology journalist Jennifer Schenker of Informilo wrote this excellent article explaining the DAG and the unique role SWIFT could play in anchoring it.

In the words of Kostas Peric, head of innovation at SWIFT, “This innovation will bring bank-grade identity, privacy and security to the global exchange of any digital asset between any parties.” In essence, the DAG is how SWIFT and its member banks can expand from purely financial banking into “data banking” — the exchange of digital assets that are not money, but still need the same level of identity, privacy, and security, and trust as we currently require for the exchange of money.

For example, a corporation could use the DAG to conduct a fully electronic, auditable shareholder vote across hundreds of thousands of shareholders using the DAG. Any shareholder who was already “on the grid” (i.e., had a DAG account with a bank or other participating organization) would not need to register and authenticate with the corporation’s website to participate in the vote. Instead their electronic ballot would be delivered over the DAG to the shareholder’s verified account just like a wire transfer is delivered over the SWIFT network to a person’s bank account today. The completed ballot would be returned the same way.

The DAG is not just for companies. In fact one key reason it is called a digital asset “grid” (a term coined by SWIFT’s digital identity project team leader Peter Vander Auwera) is that, like an electrical power grid, it can be used to both consume and generate digital goods. For example, a professional blogger could use the DAG to syndicate blog posts to subscribing sites and automatically receive royalties directly back into her bank account based on the number of readers at each site, with a full audit trail throughout. All of this could be managed by a syndication app written by a third-party developer to use the SWIFT DAG API (Application Programming Interface).

Craig Burton, primary consultant on the DAG infrastructure, points out that this new platform would create an explosion of trusted data interchange apps just like iPhone and Android smart phone platforms have created an explosion of mobile apps. Electronic voting and blog syndication are just two of thousands of potential apps for a network where the identity, privacy, and security features required for trust are “baked in” and do not have to be built independently by every developer — the way every website needs to provide its own registration and login system today.

As a member of the team who worked with SWIFT to develop the DAG proposal (Connect.Me was invited to participate after we announced the Respect Trust Framework and won the Privacy Award at the European Identity Conference in May), I personally believe it could be the infrastructure-level solution to user-centric digital identity and privacy that the industry has been struggling to produce ever since the Microsoft Hailstorm and Liberty Alliance initiatives were launched a decade ago. It could be the basis for a personal data ecosystem that would be a sea-change in privacy and personal empowerment on the net.

I say “could” because, now that the proposal for the DAG is public, the really hard questions can be asked. For example, at the end of Jennifer’s article, she asked me: “How long do you think it will take to actually build the DAG?” I gave her my honest appraisal: “If SWIFT is ready and the banks are willing, building the DAG using a self-reinforcing digital trust framework can be done as fast as you can build a Twitter – about four years”.

But is SWIFT ready? Are the banks willing? Do they really understand the staggering economic and social potential of a global network that can do for the trusted exchange of any data what the current banking network has done for the trusted exchange of money?

Stay tuned.


The Respect Trust Framework™

[UPDATE: Version 1 Beta of the Respect Trust Framework, incorporating feedback received since the Public Review Draft published in May, was listed with Open Identity Exchange on August 15, 2011, and Version 1 Beta 2 with minor operational policy updates was listed February 29, 2012.]

Connect.Me published Public Review Draft #1 of the Respect Trust Framework with Open Identity Exchange (OIX) on May 10, 2011.


The purpose of the Respect Trust Framework is to define a simple set of principles and rules to which all members of a digital trust network agree so that they may then share identity and personal data with a high degree of confidence that it will be safe and only used as authorized.


  • Promise: Every member promises to respect the right of every other member to control the identity and personal data they share within the network and the communications they receive within the network.
  • Permission: As part of this promise, every member agrees that all sharing of identity and personal data and sending of communications will be by permission, and to be honest and direct about the purpose(s) for which permission is sought.
  • Protection: As part of this promise, every member agrees to provide reasonable protection for the privacy and security of identity and personal data shared with that Member.
  • Portability: As part of this promise, every member agrees to ensure the portability of the identity and personal data shared with that Member.
  • Proof: As part of this promise, every member agrees to share the reputation metadata necessary for the health of the network, including feedback about compliance with this trust framework, and to not engage in any practices intended to game or subvert the reputation system.


The Respect Reputation System

The Respect Trust Framework is made self-reinforcing through use of a peer-to-peer reputation system called the Respect Reputation System™.


The Respect Promise™


The Respect Promise is the contractual commitment made by and among members upon joining the trust network that establishes mutual duties and benefits among all members as expressed by the statement:

“I promise to uphold the purpose, principles, and rules of the Respect Trust Framework.”