Adware: Like spyware, this is software that installs itself
on another computer without the owner’s knowledge,
and in certain situations places advertisements on the screen
Bandwidth: The amount of information that can be sent through
a connection (usually measured in bits-per-second). Bandwidth
is the range between the highest and lowest frequencies on
a channel; more commonly, the amount of data that can flow
through a channel at the same time. In either case, the capacity
of a telecommunications channel is measured by its bandwidth.
Blog: Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves
as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual.
Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality
of the author.
Browser: Short for Web browser, a software used to locate
and display Web pages. Most can display graphics and text
as well as present multimedia information including sound
Circuit switching: the traditional way of information or
electrical flow, where cutting the circuit means the end
of the flow. Different from packet switching, where the information
is divided up and sent in individual packets, which can find
alternative routes to their destination if one route is blocked
Cookies: A message given to a web browser by a web server.
The browser stores the message in a text file. The message
is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests
a page from the server. The main purpose of cookies is to
identify users and possibly prepare customised web pages
to collect demographic information about who is visiting
the Web site; to personalise the user’s experience
on the Web site, and; to monitor advertisements. Any personal
information that you give to a Web site, including credit
card information, will most likely be stored in a cookie
unless you have turned off the cookie feature in your browser.
Copyright: A set of specific rights to content use, manipulation,
and distribution that the law grants content creators, leaving
all other rights to the public. A copyright is an intellectual
property protection granted to literary, musical and artistic
works, including drawings, poems, films, written publications,
Cryptography: The art of protecting information by transforming
it (encrypting it) into an unreadable format, called cipher
text. Only those who possess a secret key can decipher (or
decrypt) the message into plain text. As the internet and
other forms of electronic communication become more prevalent,
electronic security is becoming increasingly important. Cryptography
is used to protect email messages, credit card information,
and corporate data. Cryptography systems can be broadly classified
into symmetric-key systems that use a single key that both
the sender and recipient have, and public-key systems that
use two keys, a public key known to everyone and a private
key that only the recipient of messages uses.
Cyberspace: A metaphor for describing the non-physical terrain
created by computer systems. Online systems, for example,
create a cyberspace within which people can communicate with
one another (via email), do research, or simply window shop.
Like physical space, cyberspace contains objects (files,
mail messages, graphics, etc.) and different modes of transportation
and delivery. Unlike real space, though, exploring cyberspace
does not require any physical movement other than pressing
keys on a keyboard or moving a mouse. The term was coined
by author William Gibson in his sci-fi novel Neuromancer
Digital Divide: “Although often framed as an issue
of extremes, the digital divide refers to a collection of
complex factors that affect whether an individual, social
group, country or region has access to the technologies associated
with the information economy as well as the educational skills
to achieve optimal application of those technologies”,
from “Analysis of the Digital Divide”, Powerpoint
presentation, October 2000, http:// www.giic.org
Digital Signatures: A digital code that can be attached to
an electronically transmitted message that uniquely identifies
the sender. Like a written signature, the purpose of a digital
signature is to guarantee that the individual sending the
message really is who he or she claims to be. Digital signatures
are especially important for electronic commerce and are
a key component of most authentication schemes. To be effective,
digital signatures must be unforgeable. There are a number
of different encryption techniques to guarantee this level
Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL): A method for moving data
over regular phone lines. A DSL circuit is much faster than
a regular phone connection, and the wires coming into the
subscriber’s premises are the same (copper) wires used
for regular phone service. A DSL circuit must be configured
to connect two specific locations. They are sometimes referred
to as last-mile technologies because they are used only for
connections from a telephone switching station to a home
or office, not between switching stations.
Encryption: The translation of data into a secret code. Encryption
is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read
an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or
password that enables you to decrypt it.
Fair Use: a copyright principle based on the belief that
the pub-lic is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted
materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. For example,
if you wish to criticise a novelist, you should have the
freedom to quote a portion of the novelist’s work without
asking permission. Without this freedom, copyright owners
could stifle any negative comments about their work.
Fair Dealing: Similar to fair use, used in many common law
countries. The main difference is that “fair use” tends
to be an openended legal doctrine (the US copyright statute
provides factors which contribute to fair use), while “fair
dealing” is defined in a constrained manner, through
an enumerated list of causes for exemption that allows little
room for judicial interpretation.
Free Software: Software that gives the user the freedom to
run the programme for any purpose, to study how the programme
works and adapt it to the user’s needs through having
access to the source code, to redistribute copies in order
to help other users, to improve the programme and release
it to the public. Access to the source code is a precondition
for this. Free software usually uses the GPL licence to ensure
that the software remains free. It is different from open
source software in its insistence on the social aspects and
the benefits for society of free software.
Freeware: Copyrighted software given away for free by the
author. Although it is available for free, the author retains
the copyright, which means that you can do nothing with it
unless it is expressly allowed by the author. Often the author
allows people to use the software, but not sell it.
GPL: Short for General Public License, the license that accompanies
some open source software that details how the software and
its accompany source code can be freely copied, distributed
and modified. One of the basic tenets of the GPL is that
anyone who acquires the material must make it available to
anyone else under the same licensing agreement. The GPL does
not cover activities other than the copying, distributing
and modifying of the source code. A GPL is also referred
to as a copyleft, in contrast to a copyright that identifies
the proprietary rights of material.
Hacker: A slang term for a computer enthusiast, that is a
person who enjoys learning programming languages and computer
systems and can often be considered an expert on the subject.
The term is popularly used to refer to individuals who gain
unauthorised access to computer systems for the purpose of
stealing and corrupting data. Hackers themselves maintain
that the proper term for such individuals is cracker.
Information and Communications Technology
means of generating, processing, transporting and presenting
Intellectual property: Intellectual property (IP) is an
intangible thing (you cannot touch it or hold it in your
hand) that you can own, similar to the way that you can
own tangible things like a car or a plot of land. It can
be something that you have written, drawn, designed, invented,
or spoken, and it can be something that you have created
yourself or paid someone to create for you. Like tangible
property, you can buy, sell, exchange or give away intellectual
property, and you can control its use by others. However,
in order for your intangible thing to qualify as intellectual
property so you can gain these rights, you have to be able
to distinguish it from similar things. The concept of intellectual
property is intended to protect innovations and allow people
to make money by selling their ideas. Usually the expression ‘intellectual
property’ is used as a legal term to indicate four
distinct types of protection given to intangible property:
patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.
Interconnection: The linking together of systems. The linkage
used to join two or more communications units, such as
systems, networks, links, nodes, equipment, circuits, and
Internet: A worldwide interconnection of individual networks
operated by government, industry, academia, and private
parties. Note: The internet originally served to interconnect
laboratories engaged in government research, and has now
been expanded to serve millions of users and a multitude
Internet backbone: This super-fast network spanning the
world from one major metropolitan area to another is provided
by a handful of national internet service providers (ISPs).
These organisations (including Net 99 and Alternet) use
connections running at approximately 45 mbps (T3 lines)
linked up at specified interconnection points called national
access points (which are located in major metropolitan
areas). Local ISPs connect to this backbone through routers
so that data can be carried though the backbone to its
destination. http://www.cnet.com/Resources/ Info/Glossary/Terms/internetbackbone.html
Internet Exchange Point (IXP): A physical network infrastructure
operated by a single entity with the purpose of facilitating
the exchange of internet traffic between ISPs.
Internet Service Provider (ISP): A company that provides
access to the internet for companies or individuals.
Internet protocol (IP): A standard protocol designed for
use in interconnected systems of packet-switched computer
communication networks. Note: The internet protocol provides
for transmitting blocks of data called datagrams from sources
to destinations, where sources and destinations are hosts
identified by fixed-length addresses. The internet protocol
also provides for fragmentation and reassembly of long
datagrams, if necessary, for transmission through small-packet
networks. http:// www.its.bldrdoc.gov/fs-1037/
Local Area Network (LAN): A technique by which many computers
in the same physical location can be linked together to
communicate or share resources. LANs may be linked to the
internet, or they may be self-contained.
Log: Computers, especially servers, keep a record of the
machine’s activity, normally in a text file that
can be read later. This log can be referenced to find out,
for example, who accessed the server and when, with which
IP number, what happened at which time, error messages,
MAE: The MCI MAE® Internet Exchange Facilities are
the access points where ISPs may interconnect. A significant
amount of the traffic that flows between ISP networks passes
through the MAE exchanges. ISPs subscribe ports on switches
in the MAE facilities and the circuits leading into those
NAP: Network Access Point, a point in the routing hierarchy
of the Internet that exchanges traffic between major backbones.
First proposed by the NFS when it commercialised the internet.
Network: Any time you connect two or more computers together
so that they can share resources, you have a computer network.
Connect two or more networks together and you have an internet.
Open Source Software: Software for which the underlying
programming code is available to the users so that they
may read it, make changes to it, and build new versions
of the software incorporating their changes. There are
many types of Open Source Software, mainly differing in
the licensing term under which (altered)
copies of the
source code may (or must be) redistributed.
Packets: A piece of a message transmitted over a packet-switch-ing
network. See under packet switching. One of the key features
of a packet is that it contains the destination address
in addition to the data.
Packet Switching: The method used to move data around on
the internet. In packet switching, all the data coming
out of a machine is broken up into chunks, each chunk has
the address of where it came from and where it is going.
This enables chunks of data from many different sources
to mingle on the same lines, and be sorted and directed
along different routes by special machines along the way.
Patent: A patent is an intellectual property protection
that applies to inventions or designs for inventions, which
gives the inventor exclusive rights to make, use, and sell
the invention for a certain period of time.
Peer to Peer Networks: Often referred to simply as peer-to-peer,
or abbreviated p2p, a type of network in which each workstation
has equivalent capabilities and responsibilities. This
differs from client/server architectures, in which some
computers are dedicated to serving the others. Peer-to-peer
networks are generally simpler, but they usually do not
offer the same performance under heavy loads.
Portal (Web Portal): A Web site that is or is intended
to be the first place people see when using the Web. Typically
a Portal site has a catalogue of web sites, a search engine,
or both. A Portal site may also offer email and other service
to entice people to use that site as their main point of
entry (hence ‘portal’) to the Web.
Price cap regulation: price cap regulation involves regulating
the cost to consumers of telecommunication services rather
than regulating the companies’ profit. It was first
introduced when British Telecom was privatised in 1984.
By limiting prices that companies can charge and allowing
them to keep profit earned by operating within the cap,
price cap regulation is thought to provide an incentive
to increase efficiency and productivity. Summarised from
CSE: Citizens for a Sound Economy - Issue Analysis 85 – Primer
on Price Cap Regulation.
Privatisation: the process whereby functions that were
formerly run by the government are delegated instead to
the private sector. Privatisation occurs when the government
sells a government owned business or service to private
interests. This is usually the first step in creating a
competitive market for the good or service that the government
owned business previously had a monopoly on.
Proxy: A server that sits between a client application,
such as a Web browser, and a real server. It intercepts
all requests to the real server to see if it can fulfil
the requests itself. If not, it forwards the request to
the real server. Proxy servers have two main purposes.
They can dramatically improve performance for groups of
users, because they save the results of all requests for
a certain amount of time. Proxy servers can also be used
to filter requests.
Shareware: Software distributed on the basis of an honour
system. Most shareware is delivered free of charge, but
the author usually requests that you pay a small fee if
you like the programme and use it regularly. By sending
the small fee, you become registered with the producer
so that you can receive service assistance and updates.
You can copy shareware and pass it along to friends and
colleagues, but they too are expected to pay a fee if they
use the product.
Spam: Electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings.
In addition to wasting people’s time with unwanted
email, spam also eats up a lot of network bandwidth. Consequently,
there are many organisations and individuals, who have
taken it upon themselves to fight spam with a variety of
techniques. But because the internet is public, there is
really little that can be done to prevent spam, just as
it is impossible to prevent junk mail.
Spyware: Spyware is any software that covertly gathers
user information through the user’s internet connection
without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes.
Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden
component of freeware or shareware programmes that can
be downloaded from the internet. Once installed, the spyware
monitors user activity on the internet and transmits that
information in the background to someone else. Spyware
can also gather information about email addresses and even
passwords and credit card numbers. Spyware is similar to
a Trojan horse in that users unwittingly install it when
they install another product. A common way to be-come a
victim of spyware is to download certain peer-to-peer file
swapping products that are available today.
Aside from the questions of ethics and privacy, spyware steals from the user
by using the computer;s memory resources and also by eating bandwidth as it
sends information back to the spyware’s home base via the user’s
internet connection. Because spyware is using memory and system resources,
the applications running in the background can lead to system crashes or general
Telecentre: There are many different types of telecentres but essentially a
telecentre is a physical location where community members have access to ICT
hardware, information, a range of social and economic enhancement services,
and support systems that facilitate economic and social sustainability of the
telecentre itself. The aim of most telecentre projects is to pro-vide public
access to ICT and related services for a community that does not have widespread
Telecommunications: All types of data transmission, from voice to video
Universal Service: The concept of making basic local telephone service (and,
in some cases, certain other telecommunications and information services) available
at an affordable price to all people within a country or specified jurisdictional
area. http:// www.its.bldrdoc.gov/fs-1037/
Also defined as affordable access to and effective use of the Internet. (O’Siochru)
Voice Over IP (VOIP): Hardware and software that enable people to use the internet
as the transmission medium for telephone calls. For users who have free, or
fixed-price internet access, internet telephony software provides free telephone
calls anywhere in the world.
3G: 3G is an ITU specification for the third generation (analogue cellular
was the first generation, digital Personal Communications Services – PCS
- the second) of mobile communications technology. 3G promises increased bandwidth.