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Sir Tim Berners-Lee Unveils Contract for the Web

Sir Tim Berners-Lee Unveils Contract for the Web

Inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, unveiled the World Wide Web Foundation’s global plan of action, Contract for the Web, at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum in Berlin1. The unveiling came a year after he launched the initiative at the Web Summit in Lisbon2, as he urged the world to act now to avoid what he called a “digital dystopia”3. The Contract aims to protect the web as a force for good, and calls upon governments, civil society and individuals to commit to “sustained policy development, advocacy and implementation” of its text. Individuals can endorse the Contract on their own behalf, or on behalf of their organisation through its website.


The Contract has 9 principles, divided equally between stakeholder groups. Governments are asked to commit to:

  • Ensure that everyone can connect to the internet
  • Keep all of the internet available, all of the time
  • Respect and protect people’s fundamental online privacy and data rights

Civil society principles are to:

  • Make the internet affordable and accessible to everyone
  • Respect and protect people’s privacy and personal data to build online trust
  • Develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worst

Individuals commit to:

  • Be creators and collaborators on the Web
  • Build strong communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity
  • Fight for the Web


Representatives from over 80 organizations created the Contract for the Web, drawing on digital and human rights work which included the European Union’s GDPR, the Mozilla Manifesto, and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The process was guided by a core group of ten organisations, including the governments of France and Germany, Wikimedia, Avaaz, Google and Microsoft.


Supporters for the Contract for the Web include platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, as well as Access Now, Duck Duck Go and Telefónica.

Learn more at Contract for the Web

At our Telecommunications & Media Forum in Washington DC on 10-11 December 2019, we will have a session focusing on key readouts from international fora, and a debrief on multi-stakeholder meetings, including IGF-19.



  • Wednesday, 27 November 2019

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