Building peace in the minds of men and women

Internet Governance Glossary - 1. Internet governance general

1.1 cyberspace

A world-wide virtual space, different from real space, with many sub-communities unevenly distributed using a technical environment – first of all the Internet – in which citizens and organizations utilize information and communication technology (ICT) for their social and commercial interactions.

1.2 Information and communication technologies (ICT)

Integration of telecommunications, computers as well as the necessary software, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.

1.3 Internet

The worldwide public network of computer networks that provides access to a number of communication services including the World Wide Web (WWW) and carries e-mail, news, entertainment and data files.


The Internet (with capital "I") refers to the huge global public network which also runs the World Wide Web. Other internets – also being networks of computer networks – are written with lower case "i".

1.4 Internet of things

Internet technology
Multiplication of interactive information objects by means of adding sensors and other devices to material objects (i.e. “things”) with the ability to communicate with other objects thus transforming the physical world itself into a huge information and knowledge system.

This enables things/objects to recognise events and changes in their surroundings and act and react in an appropriate way, without human intervention.


This enables things/objects to recognize events and changes in their surroundings and act and react in an appropriate way, without human intervention.

1.5 Internet governance

“the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet”.
(§ 34, Tunis Agenda for the Information Society – 2005)

1.6 Public interest

Refers to parts of the Internet that can be considered as a global public good essential for the welfare or well-being of the general public.

1.7 global public good

<Internet governance> refers to the Internet as a resource of extreme importance so that Internet governance is in the public interest. This can be achieved by providing, inter alia, universal services, universal access and privacy protection.

1.8 Pluralism

Recognition of a multiplicity of legitimate interests and Internet stakeholders.

1.9 Multi-stakeholderism

Major guiding principle of Internet governance referring to the pluralism of Internet stakeholders including governments, the private sector, civil society and academic and technical communities.


Multi-stakeholderism is closely related to the concept of the Internet ecosystem.

1.10 Internet stakeholders

formal organizations, institutions or informal networks of the private sector and civil society, as well as governments, intergovernmental and international organizations belonging to the Internet ecosystem.


Internet stakeholders or their organizations may be active at international, regional or national level.

1.11 Internet ecosystem

Complex system that comprises – closely related to multi-stakeholderism – the main Internet stakeholder categories:

  • governments,
  • the private sector,
  • civil society,
  • the academic community,
  • the technical community,
  • international organizations,
  • intergovernmental organizations,
  • users in general.
1.12 Accountability

<Internet governance> guiding principle of Internet governance whereby each Internet stakeholder is obliged to abide by appropriate governance and proper management.

1.13 Transparency

Refers to the clear provision of complete and accurate information on the activities and practices of Internet stakeholders in a form understandable by an average user.

1.14 Openness

One of the core values of the Internet being an open platform with open processes.


Some Internet stakeholders assume that a healthy and sustainable Internet is based on the principle of openness comprising first of all:

In addition to general terms there are several legal term, such as open access, Creative Commons (CC) and others.

1.15 Universal access - access for all

Policy to facilitate or even guarantee access – including the requirement of affordable access – for everybody to the Internet.


Universal access in a broader sense is encompassing a variety of issues, including information and computer literacy, digital media, information and communication technology (ICT) skills, as well as linguistic diversity through language protection, gender equality and women empowerment and empowerment of minorities and persons with disabilities. In a narrow sense it sometimes focuses on facilitating the expansion of access to ICT and the Internet in underserved areas. Regions benefitting from low communication costs (cities in general) could, for instance, extend their support to less favored regions (rural zones in general) characterized by high communication costs.

1.16 Neutrality / Network neutrality / Net neutrality

Guiding design principle of the Internet, whereby the flow of all the data on the Internet is treated without discrimination.