Net normality: Mapping tech prefixes | ALC Training News

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According to recent research, conducted by Dr Jovan Kurbalija Founding Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform, the use of e-, virtual, online, and net are beginning to disappear in IT governance. 

This is the conclusion reached through monitoring the use of prefixes at the UN-based negotiations on global digital policy, which are currently underway at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). 

Why are prefixes important?

The use of prefixes are a good indicator of trends currently within the tech sector. By monitoring and mapping prefixes researchers can identify current trends developing in certain industries. 

For instance, cyber has become highly associated with information security training, a major developing tech ​industry.  

Dr Kurbalija argues that this is not a surprise, as each policy field generates its own specialised vocabulary which frames governance discussions in different ways. 

Further, because of these framing and vocabulary differences, prefixes can cause issues for government departments, companies and organisations that work within a sector regulated by public policy. The differences, although subtle, may cause confusion when defining policy areas and thus whose responsibility it should be.

Finally, the use of different prefixes when referring to the same thing might accentuate the difficulties of overcoming policy silos. Policy silos refer to departments, like employment offices, economic development agencies and local training institutions, working individually, following separate policy frameworks and working towards different objectives.

Silos make it difficult to optimise outcomes from multi-disciplinary issues, such as internet governance.   

Prefix use in policy retreating

The use of tech prefixes is not disappearing completely, rather, they are no longer being used in general conversations. Instead, prefixes are utilised to refer to different sectors and thus refer to specific things. Here are three examples:

  1. Cyber is now mostly used when discussing security, or during IT security training courses. These include words like cyberattacks or cybercrime.
  2. Digital refers to development issues, such as the digital divide or digitisation. 
  3. E- is used for historical insight. A legacy from 2005 WSIS, it's used refers to previous conventions or strategies. 

As the internet and its technological associates normalise, it is only a matter of time until these prefixes disappear from our vocabulary forever. To take advantage of the booming IT industry, contact an IT training provider today.