We are aware of a complaint from “Movement for an Open Web” (Marketers For An Open Web Limited) that accuses W3C of “favouring the giant tech corporations in its procedures and decision-making and failing to comply with antitrust laws.” We have seen only the public statement on their website. These allegations have no basis in fact.
W3C operates an open, transparent, vendor-neutral Process that we established and refined collectively, in public, since 1994. In that Process, every member has an equal voice, and every input or objection gets a hearing. Our antitrust and competition guidance reminds participants of their legal obligations as potential competitors to comply with applicable antitrust or competition laws and regulations. Our royalty-free patent policy aims to enable widespread implementation and use of W3C recommendations. Through wide and public review of draft specifications, we gather input including security, privacy, accessibility, and internationalization reviews.
As a non-profit whose mission is to lead the web to its full potential, the Web Consortium is able to bring together myriad stakeholders by upholding values and design principles that foster one web, for all, built openly and collaboratively. We are first and foremost a level playing field, which we take seriously as one of the pillars to advance the web.
Last week, two UK regulatory agencies, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), issued reports with favorable reference to W3C processes and guidance. The ICO opinion on “Data protection and privacy expectations for online advertising proposals” sets an expectation that online advertising proposals for potential web standards or “significant impact on the broader web” should “engage organisations such as the W3C at an appropriate stage in the development lifecycle” and “have worked through any applicable review process. For example, the established means at W3C to obtain wider review, which includes the ‘Self-Review Questionnaire: Security and Privacy.’ This is intended to address likely questions raised by key W3C groups such as the Technical Architecture Group and Privacy Interest Group.”