Checker comes to mind but I want something better.

The context I have in mind is in software development. What would you call the mechanism that will allow or deny user actions (based on users' privileges and the rules of what they're interacting to allows) like commenting, liking, flagging, rating, etc?

I'm looking for a generic term for something I'd go to to see if what I have is valid or invalid before I can proceed with whatever it is.

  • The Powers That Be. Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 15:44
  • Do you mean an authorisation or permission function of some kind?
    – Alo
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 16:42
  • The authorizor.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 18:04
  • "Authority having jurisdiction" is the term used for, eg, granting building permits in the US.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 20:26

4 Answers 4


In technical terminology, this kind of mechanism is called access control and the system is called access control system. It is usually used in computer security and telecommunication.

You can also consider access approval to exclude authentication.

In computer security, general access control includes authorization, authentication, access approval, and audit. A more narrow definition of access control would cover only access approval, whereby the system makes a decision to grant or reject an access request from an already authenticated subject, based on what the subject is authorized to access.



If you want a single word, you certainly have a few choices in addition to checker.

  • authorizer
  • controller
  • arbiteur
  • verifier
  • gatekeeper

But ultimately, you're probably best to go with access control system as ermanen notes. It's also frequently abbreviated as ACS, which may be useful if you're wanting something short.


Role-based access control system or role-based security system

Within an organization, roles are created for various job functions. The permissions to perform certain operations are assigned to specific roles. Members or staff (or other system users) are assigned particular roles, and through those role assignments acquire the computer permissions to perform particular computer-system functions. Since users are not assigned permissions directly, but only acquire them through their role (or roles), management of individual user rights becomes a matter of simply assigning appropriate roles to the user's account; this simplifies common operations, such as adding a user, or changing a user's department.

Three primary rules are defined for RBAC:

  1. Role assignment: A subject can exercise a permission only if the subject has selected or been assigned a role.
  2. Role authorization: A subject's active role must be authorized for the subject. With rule 1 above, this rule ensures that users can take on only roles for which they are authorized.
  3. Permission authorization: A subject can exercise a permission only if the permission is authorized for the subject's active role. With rules 1 and 2, this rule ensures that users can exercise only permissions for which they are authorized.

From Wikipedia: Role-based access control


The system you are describing is a (Role-Based) Access Control System. I have worked on several, and usually the object performing the check is called either the

  • Authenticator (which is improper if you ask me, as it should only authenticate users, not determine what they can do - but in some systems the roles are not so clearly separated)
  • Grantor (I have seen this in databases too) - the entity that "grants" an access request. This is not necessarily role based, it could be time based or anything. SAP ECC has a "grantor" module.
  • Arbitrator (even if I would use the Latin term arbiter), or arbitrating module/layer. This is also used to indicate a module that can reroute requests or establish service priority or perform load balancing. I am working currently on a system where the grantor module is called sistema di arbitraggio, which would be arbitrating system, and is a mixed RBACS/load balancer.

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