Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee
Victorian Electronic Democracy, Final Report, May 2005

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Glossary

3G
The common term used to describe third-generation mobile telephone services. 3G affords users a greater range of communications options, including access to Internet content (WWW, email) and video data.
ADSL
Asymmetric digital subscriber line, an Internet access service allowing greater data transfer speeds from existing telecommunications infrastructure (up to 500 times). This technology is “asymmetric” as download speeds are faster than upload speeds.
Backdoor
A piece of software that allows access to a computer without using the conventional security procedures (e.g. without knowledge of the user’s password and user name). These programs are often Trojans.
Ballot Initiative
A form of direct democracy practiced in some parts of the United States, where citizens can propose legislative measures to be voted on via referenda at the next election of elected representatives.
Bit
Binary digit, the smallest unit of digital information, which can be represented as either of two values: 1 or 0.
“Black Hat” Hacker
An individual who attempts to gain unauthorised access to a computer system for illegal purposes. See also “White hat hacker”.
Blacklist
A list of people or objects banned or restricted in some way. Often used in reference to Internet content filtering, a blacklist is normally developed over time, with new addresses (such as URLs or email) added on the basis of violations of a rule or acceptable performance. See also whitelist.
Blog
A “web log” or online diary. Blogs have been identified as an increasingly popular source of online publication, especially regarding political information, opinion publication and alternative news coverage.
Blogger
The author of a blog.
Blogging Engine
A Content Management System specifically designed for the purposes of writing and maintaining a blog.
Broadband
As defined by the Australian Communications Authority (2004:200) “Describes a class of telecommunications access services, such as ADSL, [hybrid fibre coaxial cable] and Wi-Fi, offering a data rate greater than narrowband services. These services are usually ‘always-on’ and do not tie up a telephone line exclusively for data. … Any Internet connection with an access data rate greater than 200 [kilobits per second].”
Broadcasting
As defined by the Federal Broadcasting Services Act 1992, the delivery of television or radio programs, whether the delivery uses the radiofrequency spectrum, cable, optical fibre, satellite or any other means or a combination of those means, but excluding: a service that provides no more than data, or no more than text (with or without associated still images); or a service that makes programs available on demand on a point-to-point basis; or a service that the Commonwealth Minister for Communication gazettes. See also narrowcasting.
Byte
8 bits.
Cascading Style Sheet
Internet-based resources that specify how a webpage is presented on screen or when printed. Cascading style sheets allow control over fonts, images, page layout and spacing. This approach can allow for webpage designs to be attached to the same resource, allowing greater accessibility for users with unusual screen sizes or equipment.
Caucus
A closed meeting of Members of Parliament from a political party to determine policy and/or elect positions in the party.
Citizen
A citizen is a formal member of a political community, membership of which confers rights (such as the right of political participation) and responsibilities (adherence to the rule of law).
Citizen Advisory Committee
A group of elected or appointed citizens selected to provide ongoing advice and recommendations to a government (or other) body or agency.
Citizen Jury
A form of deliberative democracy whereby small groups of people are brought together to hear evidence about a policy or legislative issue, debate and determine a binding judgement based on the evidence received. This model normally uses a randomised recruitment process (similar to a jury for a court case). Decisions reached, unlike consensus-building, need not be unanimous.
Computer Game Console
A dedicated electronic device for playing computer games. These platforms can be based around home use (such as the PlayStation or Xbox), or portable devices. While home-based machines are increasingly networked, at the time of writing Internet access on handheld game consoles remains formative (the recently released Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable includes Wi-Fi capabilities that may be extended to more general Internet access in the future).
Consensus Building
A conversational style of decision making whereby issues and opinions are discussed across a range of perspectives with the objective of reaching a shared opinion or compromise agreement amongst a group of participants.\
Content Management System
A software package that enables content to be managed on one or more websites. A content management system allows one or more authors to prepare and publish information online, without needing to prepare HTML code. Modern systems allow information and resources (images, scripts, etc.) to be stored in a database for re-use, automatic indexing and searching, and for workflow management (authorisation, publication, retirement, archiving).
Cracker
See black hat hacker.
Defamation
A communication that lowers the personal or professional reputation of a third party, ridicules them, or leads others to shun and avoid them.
Deliberative Democracy
A form of representative democracy which involves groups of citizens who discuss and decide policy issues. The nature of deliberative democracy is similar to representative democracy, but differs in the mechanism by which decision makers are selected. Like direct democracy, this form of decision making can be used in conjunction with the representative form, such as the use of citizen juries to resolve specific policy issues.
Deliberative Polling
A form of deliberative democracy similar to a citizen’s jury, the deliberative poll varies in that it normally consists of a larger number of deliberative groups (split into sub groups) which are polled prior, during and after the provision of evidence and time for debate and discussion.
Delegated Decision
The granting of statutory authority to another individual or group without the original granting body exercising authority or control over the final decision reached.
Denial of Service Attack
An attack against a computer or network that attempts to limit or prevent access to the Internet by flooding it with requests (for a webpage or online resource) or email (causing the email system to overload). A more sophisticated variant of this attack is a distributed denial of service attack, which uses multiple computers for this purpose, increasing the amount of traffic and reducing defences of the victim’s machine or network.
Dial-up
Access to the Internet achieved using a computer modem and standard telephone line.
Digital Divide
The lack of access to information and communications technologies by segments of the community. The digital divide is a generic term used to describe this lack of access due to linguistic, economic, educational, social and geographic reasons.
Direct Democracy
A form of democratic government whereby citizens have the right to participate in decision making through referenda on legislative initiatives. Direct democracy can exist in parallel to representative democracy, for example, where ballot initiatives allow citizens to vote on legislative initiatives, or replace representative democracy. In practice, direct democracy is limited by the complexity of modern policy making and the capacity for citizens to deliberate issues in a timely and expedient manner.
Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machine
An electronic voting machine.
DNS Poisoning
The substitution of a false Internet provider address at the domain name service level (e.g. where web addresses are converted into numeric Internet provider addresses).
Domain Name Service
The Internet system whereby textual addresses (such as www.parliament.vic.gov.au) are converted into Internet provider numbers (203.16.24.1). A DNS service can be offered by Internet service providers or hosts and domain name registrars.
Electorate
A group of people entitled to vote. The term is commonly used to describe a geographical area constituted for a specific electoral race (see also “virtual electorate"). Traditionally, each electorate of Victoria has been represented by a single Member of Parliament (a “single-member electorate”); however, from 2006 the Legislative Council will be comprised of electorates (“Provinces”) represented by more than one Member (“multimember electorates”).
Electronic Democracy
The direct and indirect use of electronic technologies (information and communications technologies) to participate in the democratic process. Direct forms of electronic democracy include electronic and online voting, participation in consultation, and interactions between elected representatives and constituents. Indirect forms of electronic democracy include such things as the production and consumption of politically relevant information and community capacity building to utilise information and communications technologies.
Electronic Reading Room
An online repository of documents released under Freedom of Information provisions.
Electronic Voting
The use of an electronic device to record and/or tabulate votes cast in an election. Electronic voting can take a number of forms: Remote voting, where the vote is cast over the Internet or via another networked device (such as a mobile telephone, digital interactive television, landline telephone, or through a closed network), at a stand-alone computer voting terminal (see Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machine), or at a terminal attached to a local area network).
Epistemology
An area of philosophical study that focuses on our understanding of knowledge. Epistemology asks questions about what is true and false, and what constitutes valid “information”. A key question of epistemology is whether information is absolute or relative, reflecting a tension between the “scientific method” and “social constructivism”.
Email
The common term for “electronic mail”, a method for writing, sending and receiving electronic text (and audio and/or video) over a computer network. A variation of email popular with mobile telephone users is the Short Messaging Service (SMS). Email differs to other messaging systems in that it is asynchronous in nature (see Instant Messaging).
Email Client
An application program used to receive, store and send email.
Email Spoofing
A type of Internet fraud whereby the “header” of an email message is falsified to appear to come from a different sender’s address. This type of criminal activity is commonly used to deliver SPAM email, or for the purposes of fraud.
Expatriate
A citizen who is a resident in another country.
Focus Group
A group of individual citizens drawn together by a researcher or moderator to discuss their personal experiences or views on a particular topic. Unlike deliberative democracy consultations methodologies such as deliberative polls, the results of a focus group are seldom binding, and there is seldom a concern to introduce new evidence into the discussion from external witnesses, although sometimes the focus group participants will be required to comment on a specific document or proposal.
Hacktivism
The act of “black hat” hacking that is not specifically motivated by malice, curiosity or criminal intent, but for political purposes. This may include altering the content of a website (defacement), or preventing or inhibiting communication (such as through a denial of service attack). This term describes motive only, as the techniques employed are similar or identical to those of crackers.
Hansard
The formal and official record of parliamentary debate. In Victoria, Hansard is produced as hardcopy and electronic copy and stored in a searchable database.
Hashing
The production of a “hash value” to ensure that information or software is protected against tampering. An encrypted hash value is created using specific formula that can be used at a later time (e.g. by an end user) to ensure that the transmitted data is the same as when the hash value was created. The advantages of hashing are in the ability to exchange information securely and to detect tampering.
HDTV
“High definition television” a replacement for standard definition television which provides greater picture and sound quality to free-to-air broadcasting programs. HDTV in Australia is defined by the regulator (the ABA) as “576 lines x 720 pixels @ 50Hz progressive (576p)”. The Federal Government has introduced a requirement for free-to-air licences to broadcast an increasing amount of HDTV programming over the coming years. Current requirements for commercial and national broadcasters is the provision of 1,040 hours of HDTV content per annum.
HTML
Defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (2004a) as “the lingua franca for publishing hypertext on the World Wide Web. It is a non-proprietary format based upon SGML, and can be created and processed by a wide range of tools, from simple plain text editors – you type it in from scratch – to sophisticated WYSIWYG authoring tools. HTML uses tags such as <h1> and </h1> to structure text into headings, paragraphs, lists, hypertext links etc.”
Hosting Service
A commercial, free or advertising-supported service that allows a third party to store information on an Internet host (e.g. web server). These services may be sophisticated (providing a range of services to the client, such as website design and management) or the simple provision of hard disk space only.
Hypertext
Pages of content that contain linkages to other documents or data sources. One example of hypertext is the HTML code commonly used in World Wide Web pages.
Informal Vote
A vote not counted in an election because it has been cast in such a manner as to violate the rules of counting. This may include the inappropriate use of a mark, failure to complete a preferential system appropriately (missing a number, incompletion) or being completed in an illegible manner. In addition, for postal voting environments, a vote may be considered invalid (informal) because it has arrived late or lacks the appropriate authentication (such as an envelope signature).
Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs)
That emerging class of technologies which allows the processing, storage and communication of digital information. ICTs include networked and portable computer systems, as well as advanced mobile telephone systems and services.
Information Commons
Information resources shared by a community of producers and consumers in an open access environment.
Instant Messaging
A computer program that allows near-instantaneous (synchronous) communication between computer users. This communication can take a variety of forms, from text (similar to an email) to videoconferencing. A variant of this type of application for mobile telephones is the SMS.
Intellectual Property
A type of property that is protected by copyright or patent laws. Intellectual property is the product of intellectual processes, such as scholarship or creative work.
Interactive Telephone Services
A type of software application that can use a combination of touchtone keypad and/or voice input to provide access to information or services via a conventional telephone handset.
Internet
A world-wide network of computer systems and networks that share information and data using a standard communication protocol (Internet Protocol).
Internet 2
A project to develop new technologies for high-performance computer networking. While specifically developed to facilitate research and educational purposes, the involvement of research, commercial and government organisations also aims to distribute these technology into the wider community.
Internet Relay Chat
See Instant Messaging.
Internet Voting
See electronic voting.
IP
“Internet Protocol”. The basic addressing protocol of the Internet which allows resources to be located across the distributed network.
IP Spoofing
The manipulation of Internet packed routing data to impersonate a different machine.
IPv6
“Internet Protocol version 6”. A replacement for the aging IPv4, which was released in the early 1980s. IPv6 will increase the number of available Internet addresses (from 32 to 128 bits), resolving a problem associated with the growth of the number of computers attached to the Internet.
Keylogger
A computer program that captures the keystrokes of a computer user and stores them. Modern keyloggers can store additional information, such as images of the user’s screen. Most malicious keyloggers send this data to a third party remotely (such as via email).
Kilobit
1,024 bits.
Legislative Assembly
The “lower house” of the Parliament of Victoria, which is modelled on the House of Commons in Westminster in the United Kingdom. The Assembly is the seat of Government, where the Party or Parties with a majority form Government and thereby have control over Executive Government through control of the Victorian Public Service via the appointment of Ministers. The Assembly is the only Chamber in which financial bills can be introduced, but other bills can be introduced in either Chamber.
Legislative Council
The “upper house” of the Parliament of Victoria, which is modelled loosely on the House of Lords in Westminster. The Council is generally regarded as a “house of review” reconsidering the legislation passed by the lower house.
Legislature
See Parliament.
Linux
The basis of a computer operating system developed by Linus Torvalds (the Linux “kernel”). Linux is an open-source project that has resulted in a number of Linux-based operating systems (“distributions”) available for free or at cost. Examples include Red Hat and XandrOS. See Open Source.
Local Area Network
A group of computers or other electronic devices connected via a physical network or Wi-Fi. A LAN may be connected to another wider network (such as the Internet), or act as a stand-alone network.
Lurker
A member subscribed to an email list who does not participate in the discussion.
Malicious Active Content
A type of malware based on the popular scripting languages that provide functionality to Internet software (such as Java, Active X, Visual Basic). Malicious uses for active content can include the delivery of viruses or worms, use of desktop applications to undertake tasks (send email), record information or redirect users to other locations.
Malicious Mobile Code
see malicious active content.
Malware
“Malicious software”; a generic term covering a range of software programs and types of programs designed to attack, degrade or prevent the intended use of an ICT or network. Types of malware can include viruses, worms, Trojans, malicious active content and denial of service attacks. In the case of invasion of privacy for the purposes of fraud or the theft of identity, software that passively observes the use of a computer is also malware (“spyware”).
Man-in-the-middle Attack
An “active” Internet attack, whereby the criminal attempts to intercept, read or alter information moving between two computers.
Meritocracy
A system of government whereby a particular standard of ability is used as the basis by which political leadership is determined or accrues to an existing elite.
Metadata
Data about data. Metadata is information about an informational resource, be that a document (such as a webpage), image, dataset or other resource. Metadata is valuable in the storage and retrieval of information. Resources supported by good quality, structured metadata are more easily discoverable.
Methodology
The procedures and techniques used to collect, store, analyse and present information; a research process.
m-Government
A subset of electronic government, “mobile government” is the use of mobile devices (Wi-Fi enabled portable ICTs, mobile telephones, etc.) by the public sector. m-Government recognises and responds to the changing nature of public sector work, such as the desire for public officials to spend more time in local communities, rather than office buildings, yet retain access to information services and public sector systems. m-Government is also reflected in the changing pattern of public interaction with Government, where increasing amounts of interactions will be through portable ICTs.
MMS
Multimedia Messaging Service. An improved version of the Short Messaging Service (see SMS) which allows the distribution of images, audio and video content via mobile telephones.
Mobile Telephone
A portable telephone that is connected to the telecommunications network by radio signals communicated with ground-based receiving stations or via satellite technology. Mobile telephones provide a range of services, from SMS Instant Messaging and voice communications, to data services, such as video and Internet access. Recent developments in mobile telephone technology focus on new communications standards to increase the ability of these devices to receive and transmit data (see 3G).
Multichannelling
The provision of additional standard definition television signals over free-to-air broadcasting services. Multichannelling is possible through the use of digital signals rather than analogue, which increases the amount of data that can be provided. Under Federal Government regulations, only the two national television networks (ABC and SBS) are permitted to multichannel.
Multimedia
Information presented in a variety of formats that can include textual, audio and video.
Multimedia Messaging Service
See MMS.
Narrowcasting
As defined by the Federal Government’s Broadcasting Services Act 1992, broadcasting services whose reception is limited by one of the following: targeted to special interest groups, limited location, limited period of time, of limited appeal, or for some other reason. See also Broadcasting.
Netcasting
See Webcasting.
News Aggregator
Software which allows syndicated news content (such as RSS feeds) to be brought together and displayed. Aggregators can be built into web browsers, website management systems or as stand-alone applications.
Online Dispute Resolution
The use of ICTs, particularly the World Wide Web, to facilitate alternative dispute resolution processes to conventional judicial processes. These may include negotiation, mediation or arbitration.
Online Voting
A form of electronic voting that utilises computer networks to allow for the casting of a vote remotely from the place of tabulation. Online voting can be undertaken in either closed or open networks, depending on the nature of the electorate.
Open-Source Software
Computer software that is distributed under a licensing arrangement and which allows the computer code to be shared, viewed and modified by other users and organisations. Open source often refers to collaborative projects in the public domain, or programs which the author(s) permit limited modification and redistribution of the code based on specific licensing agreements. The outputs of open-source projects may or may not be products that are free. See also Linux.
Operating System
The fundamental software package for a computer that controls the management of its hardware and core system operations (such as file management). Examples of operating systems (OS) include the various versions of Microsoft Windows and DOS, Apple Mac OS and Linux distributions.
Optional Preferential Voting
A modification of the preferential voting system (which normally requires the sequential numbering of each candidate to cast a valid vote) that allows the elector to elect not to provide a number for one or more candidates. In this system of voting, a vote may “expire” and not be counted in the final tally if all of the voter’s number candidates are eliminated.
Participatory Decision Making
The cultural shift in government towards greater public involvement in processes of decision making.
PDF
“Portable Document Format”; a computer file format originally developed by Adobe Systems which allows for the capture of formatting information that preserves the intended layout and design of the original author.
Personal Digital Assistants
Small, often handheld electronic devices that have many of the capabilities of larger and more expensive desktop computers.
Pervasive Computing
The trend towards an information environment in which users have access to ICTs throughout the environment. This trend is particularly associated with the growth of wireless technologies that allow users to access online information and services remotely and synchronise data between different computers.
Petition
A written document of protest that requests that some action be taken by the target of the petition. A petition normally contains a statement of concern or grievance, and is signed by citizens or groups.
Phishing
A type of fraud whereby a criminal attempts to trick their victim into accepting a false identity presented by the criminal. The common application of this approach is to send fake emails (email spoofing) to a victim purporting to come from a legitimate source and requesting information (such as a bank account number and password) or directing the victim to a fake Internet website where this information can be captured (webpage spoofing). This fraud can be very carefully targeted (where the criminal has knowledge about their victim) or indiscriminately distributed on a mass scale through SPAM.
Pixel
A contraction of “picture element”; the smallest element of an image.
Plutocracy
A system of government whereby wealth and the benefits that wealth accrues lead to a concentration of power in the hands of those with disproportionate access to financial resources.
Preferential Voting
Called the “Australian Ballot” internationally, the preferential system of voting requires that the voter number (sequentially) the candidates on the ballot paper, and that a system of counting and recounting based on elimination occurs until one candidate secures an absolute majority of votes and is duly elected. This system has modified versions (see optional preferential voting) and is often compared with simple majority voting systems.
Presiding Officers
The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and the President of the Legislative Council in Victoria. These Members of Parliament are elected to preside over the work of the two Chambers, regulating appropriate conduct of the business of the house and performing important management of administrative functions required for the operations of the Parliament as a building, employer and public institution.
Principal Petitioner
The individual responsible for initiating a petition to the Parliament.
Private Key
One half of a key pair under public key cryptography. The private key is a secret key held to decrypt messages sent to a receiver that has been encoded using their freely available public key. See public key infrastructure.
Privilege
Or “Parliamentary Privilege”; the rights and powers of the Houses and Members of Parliament and their committees, including protections afforded from legal liability. “Privilege” in the Victorian context stems from English Bill of Rights of 1689, established to protect and facilitate the effective workings of Parliamentary Democracy.
Province
The name given, in Victoria, for electorates of the Legislative Council. See electorate.
Public Key
One half of a key pair under public key cryptography. The public key is distributed freely to allow messages to be encrypted for a specific receiver. The encrypted message can only be decrypted using the secret private key. See public key infrastructure.
Public Key Infrastructure
The use of asymmetric cryptography to provide for secure, private communications over closed and open networks. Using a key pair (a public key and a private key) an author (using the receiver’s public key) and receiver (using their private key) can exchange secure information. By introducing digital certificates issued by a trusted registration authority to link public keys to their owners, the ownership of the public key can be matched against the correct entity (person or organisation).
Really Simple Syndication (RSS)
Previously “Remote Site Syndication” (now obsolete). Based on XML, Really Simple Syndication is a format for allowing content from one online resource to be reproduced (syndicated) by other websites or systems.
Referenda
A vote of the entire electorate on a law or proposal.
Representative Democracy
A form of democratic government whereby citizens’ interests are represented by elected officials in open elections. Representatives act in the interests of their electors, either by martialling together electors’ views, or through personal initiative and independence between elections.
RSS Feed
see Really Simple Syndication.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
A “handshake protocol” developed to allow for security and privacy during Internet use. This approach relies on Public Key Encryption (PKI) to establish a secure connection between a server and client.
SDTV
“Standard definition television”; the current standard broadcasting quality for free-to-air television programming in Australia. SDTV in Australia is defined by the regulator (the ABA) as “576 lines x 720 pixels @ 50Hz interlaced (576i)”.
Simple Majority Voting
Often referred to as “first-past-the-post” voting; a simple system of voting whereby the voter indicates one preference on the ballot only, and the winner of the election is the candidate with the highest total number of votes.
SMS
The common term used to describe Instant Messaging available on mobile telephones.
Social Capital
Defined by the OECD as “…networks, together with shared norms, values and understandings which facilitate cooperation within or among groups”.
Social Network
The personal or professional set of relationships between individuals. Social networks represent both a collection of ties between people and the strength of those ties. Often used as a measure of social “connectedness”, recognising social networks assists in determining how information moves throughout groups, and how trust can be established and fostered.
SPAM
Unsolicited bulk email, normally sent for a commercial or fraudulent purpose. SPAM is an effective means of advertising as the costs of distribution of SPAM email is very low. Thus, even with a very low success rate, SPAMs can afford to send millions of emails to generate a few positive responses. In recent years a number of governments around the world have attempted to regulate SPAM via legislation (including Australia), however the prevalence of SPAM has not yet abated.
Spoofing
A generic term covering a range of computer network attacks whereby the attacker attempts to forge or intercede in a chain of communication. This can take a number of forms: email spoofing, IP spoofing and webpage spoofing.
Spyware
A general term for a class of software that monitors the actions of a computer user. This software falls into a number of categories: Software that may be installed legitimately to provide security or workplace monitoring, software with relatively benign purposes that may be associated with marketing data collection and software that is maliciously installed, either as a general violation of a user’s privacy or to collect information to allow further attacks on their computer or online transactions (e.g. “keylogging” to gain passwords).
Statistical Local Area
The smallest special unit used for data aggregation by the Australian Bureau of Statistics during non-census collection years. A standard unit of statistical analysis and presentation.
Streaming
The transferring of data in a manner that allows it to be processed (displayed) as the data is transferred, rather than requiring all the data to be transferred before it can be used. Streaming is often useful in accelerating access to large audio or video files, or where the stream is ongoing. See also webcasting.
Suffrage
The right to vote.
Technocratic
The rule or administration of government by a group or class of technical experts. A system in which decision making is given over to those with a specifically recognised set of skills, educational background or employment position.
Technological Inclusion
The use of technology to overcome social exclusion. Technological inclusion refers to policy and program approaches to overcome the digital divide, with an emphasis on developing information literacy.
Trojan
“Trojan horse”; a reference to the story of the Trojan War, a piece of malware (such as a virus program) contained within a legitimate program. The purpose of the Trojan can be wide, but the distribution approach is to attempt to have the user willingly install the host program to gain access to the victim’s computer.
URL
Uniform Resource Locator; an Internet address, such as www.victorianedemocracy.info
Valid Vote
A vote cast in such a way as to be counted in the tally. This contrasts with an informal vote.
Videoconferencing
A technology allowing people in different locations to communicate via video and audio steams. Videoconferencing can be undertaken through high-speed telephone networks or via the Internet. In addition, new generation telephone services (3G) provide a mobile form of videoconferencing available via mobile telephone.
Virtual Electorate
The concept of an electorate for people who are not residents of a jurisdiction, but still claim citizenship and are extended the right (full, or in part) to participate in the electoral process; an electorate for expatriates.
Virtual Private Network
The use of a public network, such as the Internet, to provide for secured traffic between trusted computers via a process of encryption.
Virus
A type of malware, a virus is a self-replicating computer program which copies itself into other computer files in order to remain undetected and spread from computer to computer (as opposed to a worm). The range of actions that a virus may have once it has infected a computer can be large, and some risk is associated purely due to poor program or incompatibility with the OS of the infected computer.
Web Browser
A computer program that allows access to Internet content collectively referred to as the World Wide Web. Modern browsers can be stand-alone applications, or incorporated into a range of networked devices, from desktop personal computers to mobile telephones. Browsers interpret the information stored in hypertext pages to present it to the viewer and can include text, images and multimedia content.
Webcasting
The distribution of audio and/or video content over a computer network. Webcasting can be episodic (sporadic) or continuous (such as a radio broadcast), temporal (ephemeral) or permanent (stored). Webcasting takes advantage of “streaming” to allow the user to watch or listen to the content as it is transmitted, rather than having to wait for a complete file to be downloaded.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
A set of standards developed and maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium regarding design and technical elements necessary for developing online resources that are accessible to people with disabilities.
Webpage Spoofing
A type of Internet fraud whereby a user is deceived into thinking a false or substitute website is that of a trusted third party. This may involve creating a realistic simulacra of the original site or using a system which conceals or confuses the website address either through the use of a numeric address, concealment via a script, use of filler characters to conceal a destination address, or the use of homologues domain names (domain names that contain two language scripts in them and appear to be in one language, but direct the user to a different website).
Webring
A list of related websites or similar online content joined together by hypertext linkages. Webrings can be facilitated by centralised databases which ensure the integrity of the ring is not lost if a single member ceases hosting their content.
WEP
“Wired Equivalent Privacy”; a system of data encryption used in Wi-Fi technology to prevent access to, or observation of, the wireless network. WEP is not considered secure and there are a range of pre-existing software programs designed to break its encryption.
Westminster System
Australia’s system of parliamentary democracy, inherited from the United Kingdom. The Westminster system focuses on control of government created by majority control of the Lower House of the Parliament, with Ministers selected from Members of Parliament to take responsibility for the executive arm of government (bureaucratic government departments and agencies). Ministers collectively form the Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister, Premier or Chief Minister (in the case of the States and Territories), and are responsible for their actions to the Parliament and serve with the Parliament’s confidence. This system of government is sometimes referred to as “responsible government”.
“White Hat” Hacker
Attempting to gain “unauthorised” access to a computer system to determine and address its vulnerabilities. White hat hackers may be employed directly by the owner of the system, and therefore serve as part of the systems testing and verification process, or they be independent, motivated by personal reasons to improve the system or highlight security flaws. See “Black hat hacker”.
Whitelist
An approved list; often used with regard to Internet content filtering, a whitelist only includes addresses (such as URLs or email) that have been specifically vetted in advance. See also Blacklist.
Wi-Fi
Wireless fidelity, defined by the Australian Communications Authority (2004:210) as “Used generically to refer to WLAN (IEEE 802.11) technology providing short-range, high data rate connections between mobile data devices and access points connected to a wired network.”
Wiki
A website or similar online resource which allows users to add and edit content collectively.
Workshop
A brief, but intensive group meeting (often facilitated by one or more people) aimed at the production of a specific outcome (such as a policy recommendation) through problem solving.
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web (WWW) is the collection of hypertext pages available via the Internet and web browsers. A distributed resource, the WWW is a constantly changing set of pages and context, stored across hundreds of thousands of computer systems that make up the Internet.
World Wide Web Consortium
An international consortium of member organisations that develops and maintains technical standards for Internet content.
Worm
A type of malware; a worm is a self-replicating program similar to a virus. The difference between a virus and a worm is that a worm does not attempt to conceal itself in other programs, but is a stand-alone program. As of mid-2004, instances of worms written for mobile telephones have emerged, focusing on distribution via Bluetooth Wi-Fi connections. Given the popularity of mobile telephones, it is likely that the number of telephone worms may increase.
XHTML
A general purpose markup language that utilises existing and future XML elements to present information on the WWW. XHML focuses on structuring documents rather than presenting them, allowing online information to be presented in a variety of different forms, based on user need and device capability.
XML
Extensible Markup Language; defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (2004b) as “a class of data objects called XML documents and partially describes the behavior of computer programs which process them. XML documents are made up of storage units called entities, which contain either parsed or unparsed data. Parsed data is made up of characters, some of which form character data, and some of which form markup. Markup encodes a description of the document's storage layout and logical structure. XML provides a mechanism to impose constraints on the storage layout and logical structure.”
Zombie
“Zombie computer”; a computer attached to a network that has had its security compromised and is remotely controlled for another purpose. This purpose may be to use it as a launching point for another attack, or the distribution of SPAM.