Governance for Cloud Computing: The Role of Public and Private Rulemaking in Promoting the Growth of a New Industry

67 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2013 Last revised: 27 Nov 2013

Date Written: October 19, 2013


As cloud computing becomes ubiquitous, the need to fashion better and more finely targeted rules for the cloud takes on increasing urgency. Governance at its best is not an abstraction; rather, it is a set of institutional structures that help people to achieve better outcomes than would occur in a world of unconstrained, self-interested decision making. The rules in contracts, through associations, and by governments can each play a role in creating beneficial governance, provided they are crafted to effectively meet the challenges and characteristics of the activity in question. This paper - still a work in process - explores a number of factors that rule makers should take into account in crafting such a suite of laws and customs. These factors include the structure and history of cloud computing, the ways in which it creates, captures and allocates values, the fundamental challenges of trust for the industry, and the toolkit of private and public rule making that can create structures to help cloud computing reach is potential for providing and distributing benefits. As recent revelations of government surveillance underline, policy-making efforts for cloud computing are rendered particularly complicated by the shifting pattern of convergence and divergence of interests among users, providers, and governments.

Keywords: cloud computing; regulatory policy; trust; internet; governance

JEL Classification: K23

Suggested Citation

Goodenough, Oliver R., Governance for Cloud Computing: The Role of Public and Private Rulemaking in Promoting the Growth of a New Industry (October 19, 2013). Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 34-13. Available at SSRN: or

Oliver R. Goodenough (Contact Author)

Vermont Law School ( email )

164 Chelsea Street
P.O. Box 96
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States
802 831 1231 (Phone)


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