Trust and Online Interaction

44 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2014 Last revised: 19 Jul 2015

See all articles by Justin (Gus) Hurwitz

Justin (Gus) Hurwitz

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - College of Law; International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE)

Date Written: June 21, 2013


The Internet’s initial architecture was not designed with modern use cases in mind. Rather, it was designed by researchers to support the work of the research community. As a consequence, the Internet was built upon an implicit assumption that its users could, by and large, trust one another, and that violations of that trust could be dealt with by “offline” means. Today the Internet is a post-trust environment, often bringing people with divergent values and goals together – including people who intend to harm, use, or take from others. This article draws from legal and economic theory to identify mechanisms that are necessary for individuals to embrace interactions intermediated by untrustworthy platforms, and considering how these mechanisms may be implemented online.

Suggested Citation

Hurwitz, Justin (Gus), Trust and Online Interaction (June 21, 2013). University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 161, 2013. Available at SSRN:

Justin (Gus) Hurwitz (Contact Author)

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - College of Law ( email )

103 McCollum Hall
P.O. Box 830902
Lincoln, NE 68583-0902
United States

International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) ( email )

5005 SW Meadows Rd.
Suite 300
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
United States

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