Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Patterns of integrity

One of my main interests is the history of institutions, and in particular the patterns that recur in successful institutions. These organizational structures and security mechanisms allow naturally suspicious strangers to interact with integrity.

These patterns include tamper evidence, shared time, unforgeable costliness, separation of duties, the principle of least authority, risk sharing, and learning from our ancestors, among many others. These patterns have been useful for centuries, and (I can report after having spent many years working in the computer network security field) continue to be useful in the Internet era.

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