We worked together to flesh out the Contract for the Web. Key actors in this process were the Core Group and the five Working Groups that convened in periodic conversation and produced the draft Contract for the Web.
The contract’s development was guided by a Core Group, who played an early role in gathering support for the contract. Meeting regularly to discuss progress and to plan for the contract’s success, this group was designed as a highly-engaged team, representative of the diversity of voices among the contract’s signatories. Core Group members include:
- Governments: French Government, German Government.
- Civil Society: CIPESA, The NewNow, Web Foundation.
- Companies: AnchorFree, Change.org, Google, Microsoft.
The objective of each Working Group was to flesh out a section of the Contract for the Web. Ongoing conversations between Core Group members, who acted as chairs of the different WGs, ensured that there was consistency throughout. Furthermore, given the intricate relationship between some of the 9 principles, we grouped some of them to ensure they were discussed by a single working group. This process resulted in a set of 5 Working Groups (A-E):
- WG A – Access (Principles 1 & 4)
Government and private sector commitments to achieve affordable access, connectivity, and accessibility standards online.
- WG B – Openness (Principle 2)
Concrete commitments that governments and companies must make to ensure that all of the internet is available, all of the time.
- WG C – Privacy & Data Rights (Principles 3 & 5)
Steps that governments and companies can take to ensure privacy is respected online.
- WG D – Positive Tech (Principle 6)
How companies can ensure that technology creation and use is focused on human values and better experiences for everyone, and addresses the harms associated with some current use.
- WG E – Public Action (Principles 7, 8 & 9)
Steps that citizens can take towards creating a healthier internet.
Composition of working groups
Each Working Group ideally had between 10 and 15 participants. The Core Group made recommendations for participants of each Working Group, taking into consideration sector, geography and gender identity. The Web Foundation helped curate along those dimensions to ensure that no Working Group had over 70% of representation from one single sector, geography, or gender identity.
The dimensions were defined as follows:
- Sector: Governments, companies, civil society groups and citizens
- Geography: North/South as broad categories. Participants should identify themselves and the company/government/CSO they represent in terms of geography (e.g. continent)
- Gender: We should consider several categories of gender identity and allow participants not to disclose this if they do not feel comfortable.
We also aimed for each Working Group to achieve a balance between perspectives from policy and operational experts (e.g. people who can speak to the commitments that the Contract should advocate for and the viability of their implementation) and users (e.g. people who are currently affected or would be affected by proposed commitments).
Each working group consisted of a Chair, a Secretariat Representative and Working Group Members.
Working Group Chair: The Chair was in charge of defining the content and agenda for each meeting. This included preparing the surveys to be sent to the WG ahead of the call, as well as chairing the call and ensuring a meaningful, representative debate ensues. The Chair was also in charge of liasoning with the Core Group to ensure consistency across the Working Groups.
It was the responsibility of the Chairs, with the support of the Secretariat Representative, to:
- ensure the ground-rules are followed;
- convene the group;
- facilitate group discussions towards reaching consensus;
- ensure the milestones are met and deliverables are completed;
- and take decisions by majority, in consultation with the core group, when consensus among the members of the group can not be reached.
Secretariat: The Secretariat representative ensured communications flow between the Chair and the members of the Working Groups as well as note-taking during the calls. Notes of each call were then circulated among members to ensure points have been appropriately noted. The Web Foundation offered appropriate staff to cover this position for each group.
WG Members: Working Groups members were tasked with answering surveys, engaging in calls, and ensuring the communities they represent were properly taken account of.