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Initiative to remove non-inclusive terms

February 3, 2021

3GPP groups have started the process of replacing terminology in our specifications that is non-inclusive. The entire leadership proposed jointly a Change request (CR) to the Specification drafting rules (TR21.801), following an initiative led by several individual members.

In their joint proposal (SP-201042) to the TSG SA#90-e meeting, the leaders wrote: “While there are potentially numerous language issues that could be considered offensive, there are two that are most acknowledged and focused on in the industry and applicable to the 3GPP Specifications. These terminologies are “Master / Slave” and “Whitelist / Blacklist” that are often used in 3GPP and other telecommunications / technical documents.”

 Non-inclusive terms and alternatives:

Non-inclusive term

Examples of alternative terms

master (when used in "master / slave" context)

primary, controller, main


secondary, standby

white list, whitelist, white-list

allow list, accept list

black list, blacklist, black-list

block list, drop list, forbidden list

grey list, greylist, grey-list  (a term which has been used in conjunction with white list and black list) should be replaced with e.g. track list, inspect list.

What next? - Change requests will now follow, for any Release 17 reports and specifications that need their content brought in-line with this policy.

Further reading:

  • SP-201042: Tdoc from the leadership - Inclusive Language in 3GPP Specifications
  • SP-201142: Change Request to Specification drafting rules.
  • SP-201143: Liaison Statement on: Use of Inclusive Language in 3GPP.
  • TR21.801:  3GPP Specification drafting rules




Contact for this article: Kevin FLYNN, Marketing and Communications Officer, 3GPP
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