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Internet Governance Glossary - 3. Economic Dimension

3.1 Free flow of information

Free flow of information is considered an essential component of the “Internet way of life. It is closely related to the fundamental human right of freedom of opinion and expression. It also refers to the freedom of spreading news or ideas, transmitting scientific or technological data, making people aware of matters essential to democratic life, or providing a medium for individual or collective cultural expression. However, this flow might also be hindered by some "obstacles" such as State secrets or intellectual property rights.

3.2 Consumer protection

Important legal method for developing trust in eCommerce by ensuring the rights of consumers.


eCommerce regulation is supposed to protect customers in a number of areas, such as:

  • Online handling of payment card information
  • Misleading advertising
  • Delivery of defective products.
3.3 eContent / electronic content / digital content

Content available in electronic form that can be transmitted over a computer network such as the Internet and which is representing information in a manner suitable for interpretation by human means.

3.4 Interconnection cost

Cost incurred by interconnecting Internet backbone providers (IBP) with each other and with Internet service providers (ISP).

3.5 eGovernment / Electronic government

Collective term for the digital interactions and delivery models between the citizens and their government (C2G), between governments and government agencies (G2G), between government and citizens (G2C), between government and employees (G2E), and between government and businesses/commerce (G2B).

3.6 eCommerce / Electronic commerce

The production, distribution, marketing, sale, or delivery of goods and services by electronic means considered as information society services that cover any service normally provided for remuneration, at a distance, by means of electronic equipment for the processing (including digital compression) and storage of data, and at the individual request of a recipient of a service.


eCommerce is developing rapidly and takes different forms, above all: business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), business-to-government (B2G), consumer-to-consumer (C2C).

3.8 B2C / Business-to-consumer

To individuals the most familiar type of eCommerce aiming at consumers.


From an eGovernment perspective B2C is also called business-to-citizen.

3.10 C2C consumer-to-consumer

Growing type of eCommerce between individuals in the form of for example, exchange marketplaces.


From an eGovernment perspective C2C is also called citizen-to-citizen.

3.11 eTransaction / Electronic transaction

Act of buying or selling something or sending money electronically conducted over computer-mediated networks, such as the Internet.

3.12 eCommerce transaction

eTransaction of goods or services, whether between businesses, households, individuals, governments, and other public or private organizations.

3.13 Electronic data interchange / EDI

Transfer of structured data, by agreed message standards, from one computer system to another without human intervention.


In 1987, the UN/EDIFACT Syntax Rules were approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as the international technical standard ISO 9735:1988 which became the multipart standard ISO 9735:2002 Electronic data interchange for administration, commerce and transport (EDIFACT) – Application level syntax rules (Syntax version number: 4, Syntax release number: 1).

3.14 eTaxation

Taxation based on the ‘destination’ instead of ‘origin’ principle of taxation (according to the OECD’s Ottawa Principles) specifying that no difference exists between traditional taxation and eTaxation that would require special regulations.


Many governments – especially since the financial crisis in 2008 – have been trying to increase fiscal income in order to reduce growing public debt.

3.15 ePayment

Payment for buying and selling goods or services offered through the Internet, or broadly to any type of electronic monetary transfer.


The existence of an electronic payment system is a pre-condition for the successful development of eCommerce. ePayment requires differentiation between

  • eBanking which involves the use of the Internet to conduct conventional banking operations, such as payments or fund transfers, and
  • eMoney.
3.16 eMoney

Digital equivalent of cash, stored on an electronic device or remotely at a server. It can also be stored on (and used via) mobile phones or in a payment account on the internet.