Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Contract for the Web?

  • The web is one of the most transformative tools the world has ever seen and has changed billions of lives for the better. But a growing set of risks threaten its power as a force for good.
  • The Contract for the Web is a global action plan to address these threats and to protect an open web that is safe, empowering and for everyone.
  • It will guide the digital policy agendas of governments and the decisions of companies as they build tomorrow’s web technologies.
  • It sets standards, rooted in human rights, for the development and implementation of new technologies, and the policies and laws we need to support them.
  • It brings together the core parties shaping the future of the web — governments, companies and civic groups — around a shared set of commitments that are rooted in human rights, setting out concrete actions they and individual web users must take to build a web that works for all humanity.

Who was involved in building the Contract?

  • The process is being guided by a core group of 10 which meets regularly to coordinate and plan for the contract’s success.
    • Governments: France, Germany
    • Civil Society: Wikimedia, Avaaz, CIPESA, Web Foundation, The NewNow
    • Companies: Pango (formerly known as AnchorFree), Google, Microsoft
  • Five working groups worked to turn these principles into concrete commitments included in the final Contract: 1) Access, 2) Openness, 3) Privacy & Data Rights, 4) Positive Tech 5) Public Action
    • Representation:
      • 35% of working group members come from the private sector, 50% from CSOs, and the remaining 15% from government
      • 30% come from the Global South

How was the Contract drafted?

  • Over the past ten months, over 80 signatories to the contract principles debated and negotiated the full details and commitments to be outlined in the full Contract.
  • That process was informed by a public consultation with input from more than 600 people, including policy experts.

What’s next for the Contract?

  • We will push for more governments, companies and civil society organisations to endorse the Contract and uphold the commitments throughout 2020 and beyond.
  • The team of experts behind the Contract will work together to agree new global standards for areas of policy where they currently don’t exist.
  • We will also work alongside partners to further develop measurement and accountability mechanisms.

What authority does the Contract have?

  • The Contract for the Web was built with the input and support of some of the most important players shaping the future of the web. It’s been written by over 80 organisations and hundreds of individuals from leading companies, civic groups and governments.
  • It is grounded in existing human rights law and international frameworks that have been endorsed by governments around the world.
  • We will continue to work to embed the Contract principles in other international fora like the UN, and in national laws and regulations.

What would success look like?

  • The vision behind the Contract for the Web is a world where all people around the world are able to use the web to learn, communicate and collaborate, free from fear of abuse, privacy infringement, misinformation and suppression.
  • There will be some global actors who will never back the Contract’s principles, just as they flout other global agreements, but we know we will have succeeded when those governments and companies are true outliers.
  • We will have succeeded when a critical mass of governments and companies have put the right laws, regulations and policies in place to create an open and empowering web for all; when they know their citizens and customers expect this of them; when it is the norm that most people communicate positively and respectfully online.
  • It is a huge job, but we are starting with a diverse and powerful coalition of the willing and support is continuing to build.