In information centric economies, value is a function of trust. The role of the honest broker is to provide a well understood and transparent point of reputation for attention and gesture information. The information economy we see growing around links and clicks is driven by the reputation of a few silos in the economy. Google, eBay, Yahoo and Microsoft are major reputation providers in the link/click economy. I would never call any of these parties honest brokers, though some are closer to honest broker than others. These reputation providers are by no means neutral and each defends their reputation silo fiercely from competition. That defense can make the reputation less accurate as it is never clear where the interests of the provider end.
In the Attention Gesture information economy an honest Broker is required to facilitate the exchange of and valuation of information. Similar to financial scores, the honest broker provides the unadulterated reputation of an attention/gesture provider allowing the attention/gesture consumer to value the information and then provide the attention provider with some sort of value. The honest broker never has a hand in determining the value of the transaction, but by ensuring that reputation of the provider and consumer are well known to both parties it ensures that each party can trust the valuation. The honest broker provides reputation for both attention/gesture providers and consumers, allowing both parties to identify the value of the attention data.
This honest broker service might be free as part of a network collaboration or it may be a fee for service model similar to credit card industry. Regardless, an honest broker is required to defend the attention/gesture pools from fraud and hijack. The honest broker will become a mechanism for maintaining experience continuity across a long running set of interconnected actions and exchanges, in a life connected.
As we move from an attention economy to a situational awareness economy honest brokers will be woven into the fabric of our online cognitive models.