Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and the Web Foundation have launched a "Contract for the Web" for individuals, companies and individuals to sign onto, through which signatories promise to take concrete steps to make the web a force for good.
Governments that sign on are asked to promise to "ensure everyone can connect to the internet," to "keep all the internet available all the time," and to "respect and protect people's fundamental online privacy and data rights."
Corporate signatories promise that they will "make the internet affordable and accessible to everyone," "respect and protect people's privacy and personal data to build online trust," and "develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worst."
Individuals are asked to "be creators and collaborators on the Web," "build strong communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity," and "fight for the Web."
Each of these points is unpacked in detail, with examples and references to international documents. Signatories include EFF, the Open Data Institute, Reddit, the W3C, Google, Github, Reporters Without Borders, Telefonica, Twitter, Github, Accessnow, Facebook, Duck Duck Go, Microsoft, the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Indian Public Library Movement, and many others.
I signed on.
"The forces taking the web in the wrong direction have always been very strong," Berners-Lee said. "Whether you're a company or a government, controlling the web is a way to make huge profits, or a way of ensuring you remain in power. The people are arguably the most important part of this, because it's only the people who will be motivated to hold the other two to account."
Emily Sharpe, the director of policy at the Web Foundation, said: "The web's power to be a force for good is under threat and people are crying out for change. We are determined to shape that debate using the framework that the Contract sets out.
"Ultimately, we need a global movement for the web like we now have for the environment, so that governments and companies are far more responsive to citizens than they are today. The contract lays the foundations for that movement."
Contract for the Web [Web Foundation]
Tim Berners-Lee unveils global plan to save the web [Ian Sample/The Guardian]