The founder of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, yesterday released a Contract For the Web. The 32-page document sets out commitments to “guide digital policy agendas” for governments and companies worldwide.
Berners-Lee has been critical of the state of the Web for some time now. He has argued that the web being free has led to monetization of personal data and that there are far too many cybersecurity issues. He even is leading a project at MIT called Solid, designed to help rebuild the Web. But he wants to go even further and encourage everyone to join forces on this issue.
“If we leave the web as it is, there’s a very large number of things that will go wrong. We could end up with a digital dystopia if we don’t turn things around. It’s not that we need a 10-year plan for the web, we need to turn the web around now,” Berners-Lee told The Guardian.
The contract is the result of a year of working groups. A core group of ten organisations—amongst them the French and German governments, Wikimedia, and Google—guided the contract, which was then deliberated by over 80 signatories.
Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit are among the supporters of the ambitious project. The website does not list any cryptocurrency companies as endorsers.
Berners-Lee’s Contract For The Web lays out nine principles.
For governments: Ensure everyone can connect to the internet; keep all of the internet available, all of the time; and respect and protect people’s fundamental online privacy and data rights.
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For companies: 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.
For citizens: Be creators and collaborators on the Web; build strong communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity; and fight for the web.