Trusting the Net in Developing Countries: Peer Production of Internet Governance

Networks, the Internet, and Cloud Computing and Internet

Article Snapshot


Susan Crawford, David R. Johnson and John Palfrey


Information Technologies and International Development, Vol. 1, pg. 73, 2004


This paper asks what role ordinary Internet users can play in solving problems online.

Policy Relevance

Traditional centralized government might not be necessary and will not always work well on the Internet. Peer production by ordinary Internet users can address many problems.

Main Points

  • The closest thing to a system of government for the Internet today is ICANN. Because ICANN was founded in the United States, other nations would like to develop international alternatives. 
    • Governing the Internet through the United Nations would have many advantages, because U.N. processes are clear and every nation already had delegates.

  • Technology is being developed that will let ordinary Internet users solve problems like spam and spyware on their own, without central government control.

  • Developing countries should be wary of technological solutions that are very expensive.

  • Developing countries should be prepared to use traditional governmental approaches to the worst crimes online, but be open at peer production by ordinary Internet users to address many others.

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