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New terms and concepts emerge with overwhelming frequency in the technology world. At APC we present this glossary as a practical way of igniting debate and thinking around these concepts. The APC glossary aims to provide accessible definitions of the terms we use while also giving a political perspective of what they mean and why we use them. It is also a useful resource to share with editors and translators in order to facilitate their job in terms of understanding the political nuances of various terms that APC frequently uses, and other new terms that we are adopting.
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Access to the internet, digital connectivity and devices that enable connectivity. We believe access becomes meaningful when it is defined by a community’s purpose or existing activities towards strengthening local ties or improving quality of life through digital communication. Universal access to technology means everyone in a population has access to publicly available communication network…

autonomous infrastructure

We use a three-layer analogy to understanding functioning and governance of the complex network that is the internet: the internet is comprised of the socio-economic layer, the logic layer and the infrastructure layer. Autonomous infrastructure referes to the infrastructure layer and how there are resistance efforts to build alternative networks that reflect the values and principles of local…


circular economy of digital devices

Extending the useful life of digital devices to ensure minimal environmental harm through improved manufacturing and reuse, maximising the positive social impacts of devices, and minimising the need for new devices and e-waste. It addresses the socio-environmental harms of extraction, production and waste through circular processes designed to reduce consumption, refurbish and reuse devices,…

community network

Internet and other access infrastructure set up by, owned and/or run by a local community for its benefit.

Although this definition can vary according to multiple experiences, these networks are usually called “community networks” because local communities are involved in some way in deploying, owning and/or operating the physical infrastructure that supports voice or internet…

community-centred connectivity

Connectivity that is shaped by the community itself in a manner that reflects the different interests and relationships within the community can be described as “community-centred connectivity”, even if the community does not directly provide the infrastructure and services itself.

community-centred connectivity provider

This refers to the provider – whether it is someone or some entity in the community itself, or an outside actor – who provides community-centred connectivity (as defined above) services to the community.


The development of norms, protocols and technical protections to ensure the safety and integrity of infrastructures, networks, information and systems from external cyber attacks. APC believes these norms and standards shoud be set through multistakeholder deliberations to ensure the rights of people are protected.


data extractivism

The massive extraction of user data by private companies such as Meta, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, often without appropriate privacy checks and protocols. This collection of data – a form of surveillance capitalism similar to the extraction of raw materials and exploitation of labour in colonised territories in the global South that enriched states and companies based in the north – is then…

data justice

Data justice refers to fairness in the way people are made visible, represented and treated as a result of their production of digital data, which is necessary to determine ethical paths through a datafying world.

digital governance

A term more frequently used now instead of 'internet governance', taken to involve the governance of a broader spectrum of digital services and infrastructures in a time of rapid digitalisation and datafication. 

digital inclusion

Digital inclusion is not just about more people getting connected to the internet. Digital inclusion involves creating mechanisms and processes to progressively realise the meaningful participation of unconnected communities and those 'barely online' in the digital society and economy. It includes developing the skills and know-how to participate safely online and creating the…

digital safety

The ability to understand and recognize threats that exist on the internet, as well as having the skills and knowledge to avoid and minimize these threats.


environmental justice

Environmental justice is concerned with protecting, promoting and defending the rights of all life on Earth to a healthy, safe and sustainable environment, including access to justice for socio-environmental harms and violations of environmental rights

environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability is concerned with preserving environmental systems for "sustainable development" that is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (United Nations, 1987)


feminist autonomous internet infrastructure

As an autonomous infrastructure, these are alternative networks that reflect the valuesand principles of communities around the world. They are proposed and built under feminist perspectives and feminist governance modes and models which are based on principles of care and solidarity.

feminist foreign policy

A feminist approach to foreign policy would center human security over state and national security, and focus on dismantling the global economic and political structures that reproduce gender inequality as well as other forms of exclusion, discrimination, and injustice.

Feminist Principles of the Internet

A series of statements that offer a gender and sexual rights lens on critical internet-related rights. They were drafted at the first Imagine a Feminist Internet meeting that took place in Malaysia in April 2014, organised by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), with r 50 activists and advocates working in sexual rights, women’s rights, violence against women, and internet…


Software with source code that is available and can be reused and modified by anyone with the appropriate tools and skills. APC believes the use of FLOSS is critical to building an open internet infrastructure. It is committed to creating and experimenting with technology for digital safety and security, and using FLOSS tools, and platforms. Promoting, disseminating, and sharing knowledge…


gender digital divide

Access is not just about being online. Access is about the inclusion and meaningful participation of all women and gender-diverse people in the digital space and decision making at all levels of use, design, management and governance of digital technologies. A feminist perspective on access allows us to consider the gendered impact of exclusion and access, thinking about "access"…

gig economy

A free market system in a digital society in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.

global South

The region traditionally known as the developing world that encompasses the majority of humankind. APC advocates on behalf of marginalised peoples in the global South. However, its use of the term “global South” is relatively fluid. It refers to issues of social justice and the marginalisation of people and communities in countries typically identified as in the global South, but includes…


holistic digital security

The practice of designing a digital safety model that is holistic and prioritises safety in all fronts including physical, digital and pychosocial. This model is customised based on a person's risk assessment.

hybrid event

We understand hybrid event as an event that has both on-site and online participants and/or speakers, and where participation and engagement are mediated through and by technology.


internet governance

Internet governance is the development principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and activities that shape the evolution and use of the Internet. APC believes that this governance should as much as possible include all relevant stakeholders, including marginalised groups and communities. In this respect it should be multistakeholder and inclusive, involve governments, businesses…

internet shutdown

An internet shutdown is an intentional disruption of the internet and digital services by the state so that they cannot be used in the normal way. Internet shutdowns often occur on a spectrum from the targeted shutdown of some websites and social media applications, to a complete digital blackout for a region. More frequently shutdowns have involved throttling bandwith or intentionally…


Majority World

The region traditionally known as the global South or developing world that encompasses the majority of humankind.

meaningful community-centred connectivity

The term “meaningful community-centred connectivity” should be understood to mean connectivity that operates in a local context where it is affordable and accessible in terms of the locally used language(s), location and devices, with the use of the connectivity meeting expressed needs of the community and adding value to people’s personal, social and/or economic lives.

meaningful internet access

Meaningful internet access should be understood to mean connectivity that operates in a local context where it is affordable and accessible in terms of the locally used language(s), location and devices, with the use of the connectivity meeting expressed needs of the community and adding value to people’s personal, social and/or economic lives.


One of APC's key principles of building a just, inclusive and fair interent, where all stakeholders are involved in its governance and development, in particularly marginalised and disempowered communities across the world.


net neutrality

Net neutrality is the principle of letting all internet traffic flow equally and impartially, without discrimination. It allows internet users to access any web content or applications they choose, without restriction or limitation. The net neutrality debate has focused on whether or not to impose regulations to enforce neutrality. APC believes net neutrality is critical for achieving…

network throttling

The term refers to the phenomenon where the speed of the internet is reduced to discourage active engagement online. This is usually done on orders of the governments during political instability or protests, and can be geofenced or done throughout the country for a specific time period.


online gender-based violence

Technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV)– such as cyberstalking, online harassment and doxxing – encompasses acts of gender-based violence that are committed, abetted or aggravated, in part or fully, by the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as phones, the internet, social media platforms and email.



The right to wellness that people of all walks of life have to access the relevant and necessary resources for them that supports their well-being. Caring for self is an intentional and revolutionary act. It challenges gendered notions of self-sacrifice and encourages loving boundaries in order to show up for our communities and our activism in healthy ways.

surveillance capitalism

The massive collection of user data by private companies such as Meta, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, is often done without appropriate privacy checks and protocols. This collection of data (a form of surveillance by private firms) is then used to sell content and advertising back to users, crippling the openness of the internet and its usefulness for building democracy and social justice.…

systemic and/or structural oppression

Systemic oppression occurs when the current economic system and international and national laws and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on, but not limited to, sex (grounds related to pregnancy, childbirth, gender identity, intersex status and sexual orientation), race, ethnicity, colour, social or economic class, caste, disability, religion, language, political opinion…