Rethinking Trust in the Internet of Things

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter argues that the choice of trust conceptualisations in the context of consumer Internet of Things (IoT) can have a significant impact on the understanding and implementations of a user’s private data protection. Narrow instrumental interpretations of trust as a mere precondition for technology acceptance may obscure important moral issues such as malleability of user’s privacy decisions, and power imbalances between suppliers and consumers of technology. A shift of focus in policy proposals from trust to the trustworthiness of technology can be the first step on the way to addressing these moral concerns. It is argued that complexity of IoT systems, comprised of technological artefacts and institutional data-collecting entities, warrants the moral value of distrust as a prima facie assumption for technological design and regulatory measures. Such a conceptual perspective highlights importance of technological measures that can minimise reliance on trust in consumer IoTs and regulatory measures aimed to improve transparency of IoT architectures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationData Protection and Privacy
Subtitle of host publicationThe Internet of Bodies
EditorsPaul De Hert, Serge Gutwirth, Rosamunde van Brakel, Ronald Leenes
PublisherHart Publishing
ISBN (Print)978-1-5099-2620-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • IoT
  • privacy
  • trustworthiness
  • moral trust


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