W3C and NETmundial Initiative FAQ

On 24 December 2014, the Inaugural Coordination Council of the NETmundial Initiative (NMI) was announced. Jean-François Abramatic, former W3C Chairman and currently W3C Fellow seconded by Inria was selected (by the NMI Organizing Partners, CGI.br - Brazilian Internet Steering Committee, ICANN and the WEF - World Economic Forum) to be part of the Council.

Status of this document: Jan 2015, Public memo by the W3C Team, reviewed by the W3C Advisory Board.

Questions? Daniel Dardailler <danield@w3.org>


What is the NETmundial Initiative (NMI)?

The NMI is being set up to implement the NETmundial Principles and, according to their recent declaration, will start with a phase of community discussions on their exact charter and roles. The NETMundial Principles are broadly consistent with W3C principles.

Is W3C participating in the NETmundial Intiative as an organization?

Jean-François Abramatic was one of 20 individuals selected for the Inaugural Coordination Council. Jean-François applied for the seat corresponding to the "Academia, Technical community, Foundations" sector and the "Europe" geography, and listed his affiliation as “W3C” since he is currently a W3C Fellow. Although this was a personal (not organizational) role, he listed his affiliation as W3C for full transparency to NMI and W3C Members. Jean-François will nevertheless hold his position on the Coordination Council in a personal capacity, presenting his own opinions, not formally on behalf of W3C.

Does W3C as an organization support the NETmundial Initiative ?

The NMI goal appears to be supporting conversations and innovation about the global implications of the internet and appropriate responses. While it is being worked out, it is premature for W3C to have an official position. Because of the scope and the potential of the Initiative, we are happy that Jean-François Abramatic, nominated as an individual to be part of the inaugural committee, has the opportunity to play a role in the conversation and keep W3C aware of that conversation.

How was W3C involved in Jean-François's self-nomination to the NMI Inaugural Coordination Council?

Although this was a self-nomination, Jean-François nonetheless sought advice from the W3C Team and the AB. The W3C Team felt that it would be best to be informed about this developing Initiative and have an opportunity to influence it with the W3C culture by having a proven expert like Jean-François Abramatic be a member of the Coordination Council. The W3C Team then consulted with the Advisory Board on the matter during their December 2014 meeting (W3C Member-only link), and received encouragement for Jean-François' nomination. Jeff Jaffe as W3C CEO provided a letter of endorsement for his nomination, as requested in the nomination process.

How does W3C, as an organization, position itself compared to ISOC and ICANN on the NMI ?

When the NMI Coordination Council selection process was announced, ISOC and some other Internet-related organizations expressed concerns. ISOC wrote that "This announcement has resulted in considerable discussion and concern amongst various stakeholders regarding the purpose, scope, and nature of the proposed activity or organization". While W3C has been involved in discussions involving ISOC, ICANN, and other Internet-related organizations, W3C as an organization has not taken a position on the NMI. We note that ISOC and ICANN have made some progress in coming to a common position. Like ISOC, we agree that a step-wise approach to creating the initiative should be pursued, that is: defining its Terms of Reference and the tasks it will undertake with community involvement before the NMI takes its final form and structure.

Are the NETmundial principles consistent with the W3C Principles ?

Broadly. The NETmundial Principles were published in April 2014 (pre-dating the newly launched Initiative). There is strong overlap with many of the W3C principles and vision of Web architecture (for example Accessibility, Privacy, Security, Open Stand principles and Architecture of the World Wide Web, Volume One). We note that our vision for Open Standards is even stronger than that described in the NETmundial principles, since we believe in Royalty-Free Open Standards for the Web.

What was W3C role in the preparation of NMI?

W3C has not participated in the creation of NMI per se, which was created by CGI.br, ICANN and the WEF. However W3C has been involved in several precursor meetings, such as the NETmundial conference in April 2014.

In August 2014, Tim Berners-Lee and Jeff Jaffe participated in a WEF-sponsored meeting in Geneva from which the NMI creators received input on how to move forward.

What’s Next (end of January 2015)?

Jean-François plans to attend the first NMI meetings and keep the Team and the W3C Advisory Board informed. More conversations with other Internet-related organizations will occur as the process is moving forward. As the NMI Terms of Reference take shape, and it becomes clearer how the NMI will work, the W3C Team and the Advisory Board may formulate a proposed position for W3C as an organization.