It took all of us to build the web that we have. It will take all of us to secure its future.

Half of the world’s population still can’t get online. For the other half, the web’s benefits seem to come with far too many unacceptable risks: to our privacy, our democracy, our health and our security.

The Contract for the Web is an effort to bring governments, companies, civil society and web users together to build a roadmap for how we build a web that serves humanity and is a public good for everyone, everywhere.

The Contract for the Web will become a strong mechanism for each party to be held accountable for doing their part to build an open and free web.

Those who back the Contract Principles are shaping a full contract through a collaborative process with governments, companies, and individual web users negotiating specific actions to be taken by each party to help us realise this ambition. The full Contract will be completed in 2019.

Questions or suggestions? Contact at contract@webfoundation.org.

Contract for the Web Stakeholders

  • Core Group Members (alphabetical order): AnchorFree, Change.org, CIPESA, Google, Government of France, Government of Germany, Microsoft, The NewNow, Web Foundation.
  • Working Group Members: Approximately 100 representatives of companies, governments and civil society organizations.
  • Contract Signatories: +8000 signatories and counting.
  • General public: World population.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will a contract for the web lead to change?

  • The Contract for the Web brings governments, companies and individuals around a set of shared responsibilities for creating a web that benefits humanity.
  • It will establish a new set of norms to guide the digital policy agendas of governments and the decisions of companies as they build tomorrow’s web technologies.
  • It will give citizens and activists a tool to hold companies and governments to account – to ensure they’re living up to the commitments they make.
  • Ultimately it is about making the case for open, universal web that works for everyone.

How does the Contract drafting process work?

  • Signatories to the contract principles are debating and negotiating the full details and commitments to be outlined in the full Contract.
  • These negotiations are steered by a core group comprised of participants from each party in the Contract.
  • The process will be informed by a public consultation; some of these will be broad and solicit general input from the public, and some will be curated to include policy specialists who can provide insight on specific thematic focal points in the Contract.
  • Once we have a full contract, governments, companies and citizens will again be asked to sign up to this detailed, concrete set of commitments.

What would success look like?

  • In the near term, getting a diverse group of parties around a table to agree on specific principles will be a great achievement — something quite like this hasn’t been done before.
  • Then we need to work to ensure people are living up to these principles, that these are being embedded in corporate decision-making and government policy.
  • Ultimately, we need to build an equivalent of the environmental movement for the web — so that everyone understands it is a precious public resource that we are all responsible for protecting. With the Contract for the Web, we have an opportunity to drive that shift.

What do I commit to by signing?

  • At this stage we have a set of 9 high level principles which we see as guiding stars towards building a full Contract for the web.
  • By signing up to these Principles, you agree that these 9 Principles are a reasonable starting point for a conversation regarding these issues.
  • Signatories to the Principles commit to engaging in the deliberative process towards shaping what these commitments will be.
  • We acknowledge different stakeholders have different capacity to engage, and have created a process that tries to accommodate for these needs and provides different engagement opportunities. We believe that since the web is for everyone, everyone should have the opportunity to engage in shaping the Contract.
  • Once the Contract is finalised, there will be a new process for companies, governments, CSOs and citizens to sign up to a set of more prescriptive requirements.

References

This effort is guided by others’ past work on digital and human rights, including: