[DRAFT] Near Field Communications (NFC) Working Group Charter

This charter has been superseded as a result of Advisory Committee Review; please see the revised Near Field Communications Working Group Charter

The mission of the Near Field Communications Working Group is to develop a standard API for Web applications to access NFC devices.

Join the Near Field Communications Working Group.

End date @@@TBD: 2 years after ratification
Confidentiality Proceedings are Public
Initial Chair @@@TBD
Team Contact
(FTE %: 10)
Dave Raggett
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: approximately 1 per week. Face-to-face: up to 3-4 per year as needed
IRC: active participants, particularly editors, regularly use the #nfc W3C IRC channel


Near field communication (NFC) is a form of short range wireless communication in which NFC devices such as mobile can communicate with each other over a typical distance of 4cm or less. NFC allows for two way communication. The NFC Forum defines standards for how cards and tags are formatted and the protocols for communicating with them. There are three modes:

The main benefit of NFC is their speed and simplicity of operation for end users. Touch a card to a reader to pay for ride on the metro, touch an NFC phone to a tag on a poster to view the website for the associated event. Touch two NFC phones together to exchange business cards.

In some cases no set up is needed as the card's record type is recognized by the NFC device's operating system, which automatically launches the appropriate application, such as the web browser. In other cases, as in peer to peer mode, the device will first need to run the corresponding application, which may involve asking the user to select what information to share.

The NFC APIs should be able to selectively write to NFC cards when several are in range of the NFC device, e.g. when the user has several such cards in their wallet.

A number of initiatives have been working on adding NFC APIs to web run-times, e.g. Mozilla's B2G, Tizen, PhoneGap, and webinos. It is now timely to work together on a shared API to avoid needless incompatibilities. The Near field communication Working Group will define an API for Web page scripts to use the NFC data exchange format, enabling a range of use cases for reading, writing and data exchange with NFC devices. Further background information can be found on the NFC Wiki.

Compatibility and Deployment Expectation

The NFC API will be designed to be compatible with the NFC Forum's specifications. It is expected that the NFC API will be widely supported on web run-times for NFC enabled devices such as smart phones.


The scope of the Near Field Communications Working Group is limited to the development of APIs for Web page scripts to perform the following operations with NFC devices:

Where practical the APIs will be designed to permit execution in the Web browser context, and otherwise to conform to the execution and security model defined by the System Applications Working Group. The very short range of NFC devices requires users to make a conscious decision to put one of the devices into the appropriate mode and to bring the devices physically together, and this should enable a simpler security model that minimizes the need for applications to ask for explicit user permission.

Success Criteria

To advance to Proposed Recommendation, each specification is expected to have two independent implementations of all features defined in the specification.


The Working Group will develop specifications for one or more W3C Recommendations covering the scoped functionality.


Note: The group will document significant changes from this initial schedule on the group home page.
Specification FPWD LC CR PR Rec
NFC API November 2012 March 2013 July 2013 February 2014 April 2014

Dependencies and Liaisons

This Working Group’s specifications depend upon some specifications being developed by other Working Groups for example the Web Applications Working Group’s Web IDL specification and several of the Device APIs Working Group's specifications.

W3C Groups

This Working Group expects to ask the following W3C Working Groups for reviews of deliverables in Last Call, and where appropriate to liaise on potential synergies:

Device API's Working Group
The NFC Working Group will coordinate with the Device APIs Working Group to ensure that the NFC API can be used effectively together with Web Intents.
HTML Working Group
The NFC Working Group will coordinate with the HTML Working Group to ensure that the NFC APIs conform to the privacy and security model for Web browsers.
Privacy Interest Group
The Privacy Interest Group should be asked to review deliverables to take advantage of their general expertise in privacy by design for Web standards.
Web Application Security Working Group
Interactions with this group are strongly encouraged in respect to the relationship between content security policies and access to NFC devices.
Web Cryptography Working Group
Interaction with this group would be valuable for the potential synergies between work on JavaScript cryptographic APIs and access to secure elements on NFC devices.
System Applications Working Group
The NFC Working Group will coordinate with the System Applications Working Group to ensure that the NFC API meets requirements for system level Web applications, and the security and applications models developed by that group.

External Groups

NFC Forum
The NFC Working Group will liaise with the NFC Forum to ensure that the W3C NFC API is compatible with the NDEF specifications defined by the NFC Forum.


To be successful, the Near Field Communications Working Group is expected to have 6 or more active participants for its duration. Effective participation in the Working Group is expected to consume one work day per week for each participant; and up to two days per week for editors. The Near Field Communications Working Group will allocate also the necessary resources for building Test Suites for each specification.

The Working Group welcomes participation from representatives of W3C Member organizations. To enable a broad spectrum of input, the group also anticipates the active participation of individuals as W3C Invited Experts (read the policy for approval of Invited Experts). Participation from W3C Members and non-Members alike will help ensure the goals of this charter are effectively addressed. Invited Experts in this group are not granted access to Member-only information.

Participants are reminded of the Good Standing requirements of the W3C Process.


Most of the technical work of the group is done through discussions on the public-nfc@w3.org, the group’s public mailing list. Editors’ drafts and their editing history is available from a public W3C Web site. The group’s action and issue tracking data is also public, as are the participants-approved minutes from all teleconferences and meetings.

In general, the Working Group holds a weekly teleconference as needed, but additional teleconferences can be scheduled occasionally at the chairs' discretion if a specific topic seems to warrant synchronous discussion.

The group uses a Member-confidential mailing list for administrative purposes and, at the discretion of the Chairs and participants of the group, for Member-only discussions in special cases when a particular participant requests such a discussion.

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the Near Field Communications Working Group home page.

Decision Policy

As explained in the W3C Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus and with due process. The expectation is that typically, an editor or other participant makes an initial proposal, which is then refined in discussion with members of the group and other reviewers, and consensus emerges with little formal voting being required. However, if a decision is necessary for timely progress, but consensus is not achieved after careful consideration of the range of views presented, the Chairs should put a question out for voting within the group (allowing for remote asynchronous participation—using, for example, email and/or web-based survey techniques) and record a decision, along with any objections. The matter should then be considered resolved unless and until new information becomes available.

Asynchronous decisions that are attained through the mailing list, possibly using a “Call for Consensus” process are preferred, but synchronous decisions made during a teleconference or a face-to-face meeting are valid provided that the topic they address was clearly outlined in a public agenda posted one week earlier so that non-participating parties have a chance to voice their views ahead of time.

This charter is written in accordance with Section 3.4, Votes of the W3C Process Document and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the Near Field Communications Working Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org>, W3C Staff Contact

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