The Internet as a Diverse Community: Cultural, Organizational, and Political Issues

By Urs E. Gattiker | Go to book overview

Appendix A—
The Internet: Glossary of Terms

A
Algorithms All modern algorithms use a key to control encryption and decryption.
Symmetric (or Secret key) Uses the same key for encryption and decryption, or the latter key is easily derived from the encryption key. (See Algorithms).
Asymmetric (or Public key) A different key is used for encrypting and decrypting a message; accordingly, the decrypting key cannot be derived from the encrypting key. (See Algorithms).
ASCII ASCII is a universal computer code for English letters and characters. Computers store all information as binary numbers, regardless of what make or brand the computer is. ASCII also refers to a protocol for copying files from one computer to another over a network, in which neither computer checks for any errors that might have been caused by static or other problems. The difficulty with ASCII is twofold: All special fonts and elements used in a document typed using one software (e.g., WordPerfect) will be lost when the file/document is saved in ASCII format and then reloaded by somebody else into WordPerfect (or even Microsoft Word for that matter) and, special characters such as those used in German cannot be transferred by ASCII (e.g., ii is transferred as a blank and a ue must be typed instead). In addition to German, for many languages (e.g., Chinese and Japanese), this represents a real problem and may, in part, continue to limit the use of the Internet in these countries until ASCII is replaced by another standard, easier or more feasible for use in languages besides English.

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