This post was originally published at contractfortheweb.org.
A year ago, Sir Tim Berners-Lee launched the Contract for the Web — the first ever global plan to make our online world safe and empowering for everyone.
Thousands of you answered Sir Tim’s call to join our fight for the web we want, with supporters from across the globe endorsing the Contract and committing to protecting the web as a force for good.
Since then, as our world continues to shift amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve taken time to reflect on the change we want to help create. One thing is clear: the Contract for the Web — and its roadmap to a better web — is now more critical than ever.
That’s why the Contract for the Web is set to enter a new phase. With a focus on accountability, best practices and policy design, the next steps for the Contract will drive forward sustained, coordinated action so that everyone, everywhere can connect, and so that we have the human-centered web we need to get through this crisis and be ready for the next.
We know the cost of this crisis has already been intolerably high. And yet, as bad as it has been, imagine a crisis like this without the web.
Right now, it’s unacceptable that far too many remain on the sidelines of our digital world. As this crisis has further underlined, the web is not a luxury. It is a lifeline — and access to it should be considered a basic human right.
And access to the web is just the beginning. Our online world must also be safe and empowering for everyone. But we know right now the web’s benefits come with many risks — to our privacy, our democracy, our health, and our security.
The Contract for the Web is a call to action for governments, companies and all of us as individual web users to build a better web.
A web that’s always on, affordable and available to everyone.
A web where privacy and data rights are respected and protected.
A web that promotes the best of humanity and challenges the worst.
The web we want.
The next steps for the Contract for the Web will turn those words into action to accelerate the building of a world where everyone can access a safe and empowering web.
We’ll build an online platform where the Contract for the Web community can show the public they’re making progress towards building a safe and empowering online world for everyone. That means that anyone — you, your friends and family, researchers and journalists — will be able to see how companies like Facebook, Google, Instagram, Amazon, Twitter and many more stack up against each other and how they’re honouring their commitments to the Contract.
We’ll work with partners to gather best practices and showcase this knowledge to create a “race to the top” — encouraging endorsers to lead by example. We’ll champion examples of clear privacy notices that a real human being can read and understand. We’ll showcase laws that promote online gender equality. We’ll share product solutions that tackle misinformation and prioritise accurate content. And we’ll point to policies and services that facilitate access to remote education.
We’ll create a Tech Policy Design Lab to bring citizens, policymakers, companies and technologists to the table to tackle the most challenging tech policy issues in the Contract. Through collaborative and evidence-driven workshops, we will work to produce more inclusive and constructive tech policy and push leaders of governments and companies around the world to adopt and implement these policies responsibly.
We’re beginning this work now. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be in conversation with the Contract for the Web community as we continue to shape the tools that will drive this mission forward.
The launch of the Contract for the Web was the first step toward our ultimate goal: a world where everyone, everywhere is able to use the web to learn, earn, communicate and collaborate, free from fear of abuse, privacy violations and disinformation.
Last November, thousands of web users from across the globe spoke up and demanded action for the web we want by backing the Contract for the Web. Now, with our roadmap in place, we’ll enter our next phase of fighting tirelessly to drive real change for a better web for everyone.
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Tim Berners-Lee, our co-founder, gave the web to the world for free, but fighting for it comes at a cost. Please support our work to build a safe, empowering web for everyone.