The glossary aims to define terms frequently used in this document, and more broadly, in literature about DPI. Given the evolving nature of DPI, the number of terms in this list may increase over time. For now, we hope to provide a common starting point for the working groups’ deliberations, and ensure clarity in intra- and inter-working group discussions.



Access control

The process of granting or denying specific requests to 1) obtain and use information and related information processing services and 2) enter specific physical facilities (e.g., federal buildings, military establishments, border crossing entrances).


This is a set of tools / mechanisms to measure how DPI measures up on safety and inclusivity, along the journey from design to evolution.

Building blocks

Software code, platforms, and applications that are interoperable, provide a basic digital service at scale, and can be reused for multiple use cases and contexts.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable ICT resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services), that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal effort or service provider interaction.

Cloud Infrastructure

The collection of hardware and software that enables the five essential characteristics of cloud computing. The cloud infrastructure can be viewed as containing both a physical layer and an abstraction layer.

Data breach

The loss of control, compromise, unauthorised disclosure, unauthorised acquisition, or any similar occurrence where: a person other than an authorised user accesses or potentially accesses personally identifiable information; or an authorised user accesses personally identifiable information for other than authorised purpose.

Data minimization

The data protection principle which requires that the processing of data be adequate, relevant, and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.

Digital inclusion

An approach to close divides in access to and use of digital technologies. A practice which ensures that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, are aware of, have access to, and use/are able to use information and communication technologies as well as needed, relevant, and safe digital content and services.

Digital public good (DPG)

Open-source software, open data, open AI models, open standards, and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm by design, and help attain the SDGs.


Digitization is the conversion of analogue data and processes into a machine-readable format. Digitalization is the use of digital technologies and data as well as interconnection that results in new or changes to existing activities. Digital transformation refers to the economic and societal effects of digitisation and digitalisation.

DPI Lifecycle


DPI Lifecycle: We have abstracted five steps of a DPI “lifecycle”, along which the framework will be implemented. These steps are as follows:

Plan ➡️ Design ➡️ Deploy ➡️ Scale ➡️ Evolve

  • Plan: This stage involves the initial assessment of the environment in terms of technological readiness, the capacity needed for execution and the governance ecosystem (existing laws and regulations) amongst other factors.

  • Design: The second stage involves the design of the DPI system, encompassing both technological design, as well as some governance parameters.

  • Deploy: This stage involves piloting the system, understanding the contextual challenges of deployment, and providing feedback to the system design.

  • Scale: Scaling involves fine-tuning the system on an ongoing basis with respect to parameters like financing, governance, technical aspects, capacity to ensure mass-scale adoption.

  • Evolve: This last stage is an ongoing process where the system is continually reconfigured after being once adopted on a large scale, to match the needs of an ever-changing environment of risks and challenges. In that way, this process is more of an evolving loop than a linear process.

Any procedure used in cryptography to convert plain text into cipher text to prevent anyone but the intended recipient from reading that data.


The GovStack approach provides open-source technology, technical specifications for digital services, and implementation support across government sectors to support government technology decision-makers and other stakeholders.

Implementation (WIP)

The actual process of putting those principles into action (or the practical application and execution of the adopted principles) which involves planning, designing, building, scaling, and evolving the DPI.


Eliminate or reduce economic, technical, or social barriers to enable inclusion, empowerment of end-users, last-mile access, and avoid erroneous algorithmic bias.


The ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged

Lighthouse (WIP)

A cohort-based approach of enabling selected countries (which have been selected through a particular set of criteria) to successfully adopt safeguards during their implementation. Lighthouse is a subset of Implementation.


Modularity refers to unbundling technological "problems and solutions to core, modular, minimalist, and reusable building blocks with open protocols and specifications to connect them. These building blocks should create high trust and low costs for other public and private entities when re-used. The ecosystem can then combine these building blocks to create many solutions fit for purpose (akin to lego blocks). Minimalism and modularity also allows each building block to be extensible to build or add on later as future technologies and capabilities evolve."

Open API (Application Programming Interface)

A publicly available interface that allows developers to access and utilize the functionalities of a particular system or service, enabling other programmes to make use of them as modules. The term “open” implies that the API specifications are openly available and can be accessed by any developer or organization.

Open specifications

A specification that promotes interoperability through its public availability to developers, who use it to develop software or hardware compatible with the common resource described in the specification. Open specifications are generally consistent with related standards and are updated to conform with new standards and new technologies. They may be developed and maintained by a public open consensus process.

Open source

Refers to something, historically software, that people can modify, share, and re-use because its design or “source code” is made publicly accessible. Open Source products provide universal access through an open-source licence that legally enables it.

Open/common standards

"Open Standards" are standards made available to the general public and are developed (or approved) and maintained via a collaborative and consensus driven process. They facilitate interoperability and data exchange among different products or services and are intended for widespread adoption.


The pilot project is an initial small-scale implementation that is used to prove the viability of a project idea.

Vendor lock-in

When a customer is restricted and heavily dependent on a proprietary technology, leading to a situation in which a user is forced to pay high prices and stick with a technology that does not meet their needs due to contracts and the lack of data portability.

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