Trust me!: How to use trust-by-design to build resilient tech in times of crisis

Published in 38 No. 04 Westlaw Journal Computer & Internet 02, 2020

Recommended citation: Gagnon, Gabrielle Paris, et al. “Trust Me!: How to Use Trust-by-Design to Build Resilient Tech in Times of Crisis.” 38 No. 04 Westlaw Journal Computer & Internet 02, Thomson Reuters WestLaw, 24 July 2020,

In this article, we make the argument that social trust is critical to crisis management, and that by putting trust at the center of their decision-making framework, public and private organizations can develop more efficient crisis-management reflexes. Part I defines social trust and describes how it can be leveraged to build social norms that reinforce cohesiveness, thus allowing for more efficient responses to crisis management within a society. Part II argues that organizations that fail to understand the importance of trust generate responses to crises that are more likely to divide rather than reinforce cohesiveness. We apply this criticism to the present 2020 SARS-COV-2 pandemic and demonstrate how structures which have been built without trust-by-design principles are less likely to be resilient when stress-tested by a crisis. Finally, Part III discusses how trust can be included by design in data governance initiatives, and how organizations can build more resilient systems, applications, products and social groups by actively leveraging trust. Examples are drawn from technical and practical cases, and discuss current initiatives that are on-going and which should be of interest for organizations seeking to effectively maintain social cohesiveness during crises such as the 2020 SARS-COV-2 pandemic, providing an effective development and management strategy for addressing future crises.

38 No. 04 Westlaw Journal Computer & Internet 02