Contract for the Web draft: it’s time to add your voice

22nd July 2019 | Update

In November 2018, Sir Tim Berners-Lee announced a project to build a new Contract for the Web that would bring governments, companies and citizens together around a shared set of commitments to build a better web.

A group of organisations set out to build this contract with the conviction that the web will only live up to its potential if a diverse set of actors, each with different roles and interests, work together to make it happen.

Today we published the first draft text for the Contract for the Web. This document is the first iteration of what will become the final contract, due to launch at the end of 2019. It will evolve in the coming weeks and months as those drafting the contract continue to negotiate the final text.

We need your feedback to help inform this process. Just as the contract includes responsibilities for governments and companies, it asks citizens too to make commitments. We’ve had over 8,000 individuals pledge their support for the contract principles — now we need to hear from you on the first draft of the full contract.

This survey is your opportunity to share your views on the first draft Contract for the Web.

While many agreements and declarations stop at high-level principles, the detail included in this draft makes clear that the Contract for the Web will go further. More than delivering a statement of ideals, it will offer a roadmap of responsibilities and provide clear policy guidelines for companies and governments as well as actions for citizens to participate actively and positively on the web.

To arrive at this point, five working groups have spent months building out the contract’s nine founding principles into clauses that will drive progress across several focus areas. A core group, responsible for stewarding the contract, consolidated their work to produce this first draft.

For now, the focus is on continuing to negotiate these clauses and agreeing the final text. When published later this year, we will once again ask organisations to pledge their support for the Contract for the Web.

The negotiations to get to a final document may be challenging. Working towards meaningful change will always be uncomfortable and disagreements between diverse groups with different interests are expected, even inevitable. The debate taking place speaks to the fact that this project is being taken seriously.

We need to hear your voice to ensure that as large a group as possible is represented in these deliberations. The public survey will be open until September 8. Your feedback will be consolidated and provided to the core group to inform the drafting of the final version. We’ll publish consolidated feedback before November.

Complete the survey to have your say on the Contract for the Web.

This is a working draft document reflecting contributions from a range of participants. Given this document is still in the process of negotiation, at this stage participants have not been asked to formally support or oppose the document in its current form. We look forward to working with others to finalise the document.

The Contract for the Web was launched at the Web Summit in November 2018 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee who called for governments, companies and citizens to come together to commit to building a better web. Since launching, over 115 civil society groups, 250 companies, several governments and thousands of individuals from 170+ countries have signed up to back the nine founding principles of the Contract for the Web. The drafting of the full contract is being led by a multistakeholder core group, supported by working groups and led by the World Wide Web Foundation.


Comments (2)

  • Joss Wynne Evans

    25th November 2019 -10:44 am

    In a world where the expression "freedom of speech" may be perceived as "sedition" in some places, I can understand the temptation to elide the issue that Respect for civil discourse represents. It's a noble intent that drives this and I fully support that intent; it will be interesting to see how the Principles withstand the onslaught of propagandists.

  • Benjamin Cook

    25th November 2019 -5:41 pm

    How did you miss or omit "information as property"?

    All of this is for nothing without individual information as property rights.

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Weaving the Contract for the Web — The journey so far How public voices shaped the Contract for the Web