A transaction assurance framework for web services
Includes bibliographical references (p. 121-124).
Trust assurances for customers of online transactions is an important, but not well implemented concept for the growth of confidence in electronic transactions. In an online world where customers do not personally know the companies they seek to do business with, there is real risk involved in providing an unknown service with personal information and payment details. The risks faced by a customer are compounded when multiple services are involved in a single transaction. This dissertation provides mechanisms that can be used to reduce the risks faced by a client involved in online transactions by allowing the him/her access to information about the services involved and control or prescribe how the transaction uses the services. The dissertation uses electronic transactions legislation to ground a trust assurance protocol and minimize the assumptions that have to be made. By basing the protocol on legislation, no information that isn't already required by law is used in the protocol. A trust assurance protocol is presented so that the client can establish which services are involved in a transaction so that the he/she can begin to determine whether or not he/she is willing to conduct business with the services. A trust model that calculates an assurance measure for services is developed so that the client can automatically establish a measure of trust for a service based on the external perceptions of a service, and his/her own personal experience. A simulation environment was created and used to monitor the services involved in a transaction to evaluate the trust assurance protocol and gain experience with the trust calculation that the client computes. Vocabularies that simplify and standardize descriptions of personal information, business types and the legal structure imposed on Web services offering goods or services online are presented to reduce the ambiguity involved in gathering information from different online sources. The vocabularies also provide a cornerstone of the trust assurance protocol by providing information that is necessary to compute the trust value of a Web service. Results of the trust assurance protocol are obtained and evaluated against the qualitative requirements of providing assurances to clients, and confirms that the protocol is feasible to be deployed, in terms of the overhead placed on a transaction. This dissertation finds that a trust assurance protocol is necessary to provide the client with information that he/she legally has access to and that the trust model can provide a calculable measure of trust that the client can use to compare Web services.