Citizen co-production of cyber security: Self-help, vigilantes, and cybercrime

Lennon Y.C. Chang1, Lena Y. Zhong2, Peter Grabosky3

1 School of Social Sciences, Monash University
2 Department of Applied Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong
3 Regnet, Australian National University

*corresponding author:

With the limitation of resources and capabilities of the states on maintaining cyber security, a variety of co-production efforts have been made by individuals, or by collectives of varying degrees of organization and coordination. This article identifies different forms of citizen co-production of cyber security and notes the risk of unintended consequences. Safeguards and principles are proposed in order to facilitate citizen/netizen co-production of cyber security. It concludes that although co-production of security can contribute to social control, only those activities within the bounds of the law should be encouraged. Activities of private citizens/netizens that test the limits of legality should be closely circumscribed.


Dr Lennon Chang is currently a lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University. Before joining Monash, he was working as an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Social Studies at the City University of Hong Kong. He is also a visitor at Regulatory Institutions Network at Australian National University and a member of International Cybercrime Research Centre at Simon Fraser University, Canada. He is a founding member and vice chairman of Asia Pacific Association of Technology and Society.

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