Book review: Trust, Complexity and Control: Confidence in a Convergent By Piotr Cofta


Book review

I bought Trust, Complexity and Control: Confidence in a Convergent

World (Hardcover) By Piotr Cofta at Barcelona (Mobile World Congress) and have been reading it extensively since.

Here are my thoughts about this book which I highly recommend if you are interested in Identity, Reputation, Trust and other related topics.

As Chief researcher, Identity and trust BT UK, the author is an expert in his field. So, in addition to the author’s expertise which comes across in this book, here are some more thoughts

The book takes a stand/proposition in postulating a confidence model which the author explains in detail and uses throughout the book. This is a good thing in my view i.e. the comprehensive / expert viewpoint is better than too many divergent viewpoints which can be confusing

from a learning perspective. However, the confidence model is contrasted against other models such as McNight, Lee and Egger (Comparative analysis of the model of confidence Ch 4) – so we get a balanced view after gaining a detailed understanding of one model.

Wearing my PhD / research hat on – if you are involved in reputation or Identity etc you will have to build your own reputation model (or extend an existing reputation model). In that context, it’s very useful to read about a reputation model in a book (as opposed to a

paper) and then build on it/contrast it etc.

Section one explains the Confidence model including trust and control; Measurement of confidence; a relative comparison of trust and control and also the ‘dark side’

Section two takes a technology approach and covers security, taxonomy of threats, trust enhancing technologies and other areas

Section three takes a convergence approach and covers Ebusiness, Authentication, Privacy, Sim, Trust management (a set of instruments that are used to replicate in the technical domain the relationship that exists between agents in the humans domain)

Pros and Cons of this book


a) Very readable – inspite of the nature and the complexity of the topic

b) Great depth

c) Research led(draws on research papers)

d) Independent viewpoint(the Confidence model)

e) Considers both technology and the social aspects which is essential

considering the topic

f) In depth coverage of technology

g) Holistic coverage of reputation (ebusiness etc etc)

Cons ..

The only improvement I may suggest is – the Index could be enhanced considering the detail the book covers i.e. it’s a relatively small index for a book with so much content

Overall recommendation – Highly recommended.