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Contract for the Web

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Contract for the Web

Web Foundation,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Governments, companies and individuals must all do their part to keep the internet a public good. 

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  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Visionary


Many consider the internet to be a global public good. Yet increasingly, it is becoming a tool for political manipulation, privacy violations and character assassinations. Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in the 1990s is on a mission to save the world from a “digital dystopia.” He has worked with more than 80 governmental, private and civil society organizations to put together a set of guidelines for governments, companies and individuals to safeguard the internet. Their actionable recommendations, summed up in the “Contract for the Web,” serve as a primer in internet civics for active web users everywhere.


Governments have responsibilities to provide universal, reliable internet access and to protect people’s online privacy.

Governments are in a unique position to facilitate universal internet access. For one, they can set policy targets such as delivering broadband to most households by 2030 and promote implementation through passive infrastructure sharing and financial incentives to companies.

Moreover, governments should invest in broad-based digital skills development and ensure that previously excluded populations have physical access and the needed skills to participate in online activities. Additionally, governments can use their regulatory powers to ensure freedom of online speech. Governments must also establish an effective legal mechanism that would enable them to take down content that is dangerously misleading or violates basic human rights standards. Finally...

About the Author

Tim Berners-Lee is inventor of the World Wide Web, founder of the World Wide Web Foundation and initiator of the “Contract for the Web,” which 80 organizations representing governments, companies and civil society worked on.

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