Tier 3: Recommendations to Replace

Segregate

Term

  • Segregate (and all derivatives, including “segregation”)

Recommendation

Replace.

  • Segment/segmentation
  • Separate/separation

Adjectives such as “policy” or “policy-driven” may be added where necessary for clarification.

Unsuitable replacement terms

  • Discriminate/discrimination

Use context

Used when separating data, especially by use of policy.

Rationale for replacement

The word segregation carries strong context in regard to civil rights movements in the US and South Africa, segregation in the US South, and racist history. Though the word appears etymologically neutral at first, Etymonline notes that the term has strong moral contexts prior to US segregation, and after US segregation is almost exclusively associated with the segregation of Black people from White people, an extremely racist context.

This meets one of the INI’s evaluation framework’s first-order concerns : the term is loaded, problematic, or politically charged outside of technology contexts, even if the language is itself etymologically neutral. As such, we recommend replacing it to remove the distracting, racist, and negative connotations of the word.

While the word is in use in security contexts and in GDPR and data protection contexts, it does not appear to be codified into any laws, policies, or other difficult to change or heavily embedded frameworks. Moreover, the replacement terms recommended—“segmentation” and “separation”—are both equally descriptive and in common use in technology, so we recommend replacing as you see the term.

We acknowledge that switching from “segregation” to “segmentation” or “separation” loses a small amount of nuance: specifically, “segregation” implies “separation” based on a policy or human-defined ruleset. If this is an issue in the context in which you use the word, we recommend using descriptive words along with the replacement, such as “policy-based segmentation.”