Consumer and youth protection

Protecting our customers is top priority at Deutsche Telekom. Whether it be the privacy of personal data or banning Web content that is harmful to minors, Deutsche Telekom stands for high standards when it comes to consumer and youth protection. One example of how highly secure our products are is De-Mail, our service for the legally secure identification of e-mail senders and recipients. We are also setting a new security standard for sending private e-mails with the E-Mail made in Germany industry initiative, which we co-founded. We want to teach children and young people how to use digital media safely and effectively and protect them from inappropriate content. Numerous projects throughout the Group aim to improve their media skills, and we work with a variety of initiatives and partners to create a child-friendly Internet. We have reinforced our stance with numerous national and international voluntary commitments and internal codes of conduct. In doing so, we often exceed the standards required by national regulations.

Data privacy and data security are very important to us. In 2008, we created a special Board of Management department for this topic and introduced the Binding Corporate Rules on Privacy specifying how personal data is to be collected, stored, and processed at the Deutsche Telekom Group. Not only do we provide transparent information on all of our activities and measures in our annual Data Privacy and Data Security Report, we also take stock of the current situation: What has Deutsche Telekom achieved? What do politicians consider to be the areas needing the most improvement? And what do experts think about the current state of data privacy and data security?

Our products and services have always provided a high degree of data privacy and data security. Growing volumes of data require special precautions to protect the privacy of citizens. That is why we introduced eight mandatory guiding principles for handling big data, i.e., large amounts of personal data, in 2013. In January 2015, we also approved specific measures to protect data and infrastructure in our "Ten-point program for increased cyber security". We also developed new protective products including our Mobile Encryption app, which fully encrypts mobile communications.

Data privacy and security also play a key role in the development of our other products and services. Our Privacy and Security Assessment (PSA) procedure allows us to review the security of our systems in each step of the development process. This procedure applies to newly developed systems as well as existing systems that undergo changes in technology or in the way data is processed. We use a standardized procedure to document the data privacy and data security status of our products throughout their entire life cycle. Youth protection aspects are also taken into consideration in our product and service design. In Germany we notify and involve the appointee for the protection of minors in all issues involving the creation, planning and design of its offerings. The appointee for the protection of minors is involved in the planning of new projects at an early stage and can advise Deutsche Telekom to implement restrictions or modifications.

In 2013, we also made it mandatory for every international subsidiary within the EU to designate a child safety officer (CSO) to handle youth-protection related topics. During the reporting period, we appointed a CSO in each of our European markets. The CSO acts as a central contact for societal stakeholders in the respective EU countries. They also play a key internal role in coordinating topics revolving around the protection of minors. These measures increase the consistency and transparency of Deutsche Telekom's involvement in protecting minors.

Strategic approach to protecting minors from unsuitable media content
Our strategy to protect children and young people from harm when using digital media is based on three pillars. We

We also collaborate closely with prosecuting authorities and NGOs as well as other partners from business, politics, and society to ban online content that is harmful to children and young people.

We documented our commitment to protecting minors from unsuitable media content in Germany in our basic principles and introduced minimum standards.

In 2007, we committed ourselves to fighting online images of child abuse throughout the European Union. At a global level, we have been a member of the international association of mobile providers GSMA since 2008, which pursues the same objectives. In order to better coordinate our activities within the Group, we also approved a list of general guidelines in October 2013 for our activities to help protect minors from unsuitable media content and made these guidelines mandatory at international level, thereby setting new standards in our markets. In consideration of their particular cultural situation and business model, each international subsidiary in the European Union can further specify these measures, adopt additional measures, and also determine their own strategic focal points.

Because protecting minors from unsuitable media content poses a challenge that affects many industries, we cooperate with different organizations for the protection of minors and participate in coalitions that coordinate the involvement of companies and organizations from the Internet and media sector. For example, we are a member of the "CEO Coalition to make the Internet a better place for kids". We also play a leading role in the ICT Coalition for the Safer Use of Connected Devices and Online Services by Children and Young People in the EU. In this coalition, we pursue a comprehensive cross-industry approach based on six principles that expressly includes helping young people learn media skills.

In January 2013, Deutsche Telekom announced within the scope of both coalitions plans to implement an EU-wide set of measures based on the principles of the ICT  Coalition. The ICT Coalition published an annual report in April 2014 on the implementation of corresponding measures at all of the companies represented in the ICT  Coalition. The report, which was written by an independent expert from the Dublin Institute of Technology, comes to the conclusion that Deutsche Telekom's approach to implementing the ICT  Coalition's principles is exemplary.

Deutsche Telekom has carried out numerous measures to guarantee a high degree of data privacy and data security in the use of our products and services. We document our activities in our annual Data Privacy and Data Security Report. The following are just a few examples of our activities during the reporting period:

Bringing together defense expertise
We opened Deutsche Telekom's new Cyber Defense Center in Bonn on April 16, 2014. Background: The number of cyber attacks has continued to grow over the past several years. That is why we are working hard to defend against these attacks and have brought together the required expertise at our new defense center. And for our customers, we continue to expand our security portfolio.

Legally valid electronic administration
The City of Dresden and Deutsche Telekom launched the De-Mail City pilot project in June 2014. Since then citizens, companies and authorities in Dresden have been able to use De-Mail for secure, legally binding communication. The offer initially includes submission of business registration forms, tax forms, certificates of eligibility for public housing, and electronic petitions. More uses are scheduled to follow.

Protecting privacy in mobile communications
With the Mobile Encryption app, we became one of the first providers to launch a globally deployable mobile encryption solution for smartphones in mid-2014. In contrast to other solutions, the Mobile Encryption app for Android and iOS devices works in all phone networks, and even without a SIM card via Wi-Fi or satellite link. When two users want to communicate with this new solution, they only need to install the Mobile Encryption app on their smartphones. No customer-specific technical infrastructure is needed in the background. The communication partners do not even need to be customers of the same network operator, because the encryption solution works with every provider. The offer is initially aimed at large business customers. However, we have medium-term plans to make the solution available to small and medium-sized enterprises as well.

We collaborate closely with the non-profit organization Mozilla to develop new functions for the Firefox OS cell-phone operating system that will provide users with better protection of their personal data. The location accuracy feature, for example, lets people decide how precisely an app is allowed to calculate the current location of their smartphone. Users can thus limit the GPS  information sent to the navigation app, for example. The weather app only gets the coordinates of the city in which the cell-phone user is currently located.

The new remote privacy protection feature also gives users considerably more control over their privacy. Unlike solutions used by all other operating systems, Firefox does not send the smartphone's location data to a central unit that the owner may contact if they lose their cell phone. Instead, Firefox smartphone users create a localization password. When you send a text message containing that password to the lost cell phone, the cell phone sends you a text message back specifying its location.

Mozilla is planning to gradually introduce these data privacy features, which we presented at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, to the market in 2015. These will also include the permission history feature, which lets users know which apps are accessing which data and services on their cell phone.

During the reporting period we also published online tips on digital security. The tips were designed to improve people's media skills through target group-specific offers.

New security features for online billing
In order to prevent criminals from installing malware on our customers' computers by sending them fake Telekom invoices, Telekom Deutschland GmbH has been including additional identifying information on its invoices since February 20, 2015:

  • The customer's street and house number
  • A forgery-proof seal (a blue @ symbol with a check mark inside it)
  • A signature only recognizable to Internet providers to help us sift out forged billing e-mails.

 Safe use of digital media requires knowing about potential dangers. That is why, within the scope of Teachtoday, we have created numerous offers to encourage the development of media skills. The purpose of these offers is to inform people who use the Internet frequently and, especially, children and young people about the Internet's opportunities and risks.

An example of our involvement in teaching media skills is the non-profit initiative Mobilsuli, which was launched by employees at Magyar Telekom. The aim of the initiative is to teach children the basic principles of mobile communications as well as raise their awareness for security aspects like posting personal pictures and other content. Magyar Telekom provides financial support to the initiative and gives its employees time off to volunteer. The company expanded its involvement in 2014 and gave time off to around 600 volunteers to teach children how to use cell phones securely and safely. The volunteers visited 120 schools and held two presentations at each school using age-appropriate materials, reaching around 7,000 children with their efforts.

As a leading ICT  provider, we promote to the best of our ability a secure, positive online experience for children and young people. With age-appropriate websites and content like the search machine and our Kids Portal, which has been up and running since 2004, we provide children and young people in Germany and other countries with exciting, attractive online content. There is, however, other, dangerous online content out in the Net there aside from these secure offers. That is why we provide filters that parents can use to make it hard for their children to access dangerous content. One of the two programs for the protection of children under ages 16 and 18 from dangerous content recognized by the Commission for the Protection of Minors from Unsuitable Media Content (KJM) was our child protection software. Parents (or other legal guardians) can use the software to flexibly determine which content their children (or wards) can access.

We also developed the Surfgarten browser for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch for protecting minors in Germany. The number of Surfgarten users doubled during the reporting period to around 6,000.

Both our German child protection software and Surfgarten contain a technological solution that identifies the age-rating of websites.

Deutsche Telekom considers it its obligation to take rigorous action against depictions of child abuse on the Internet. Deutsche Telekom has been involved in an EU-wide fight against the depiction of child abuse since 2007 in the European Framework for Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children. Since 2008 we have also been involved in the fight against the spread of such content initiated by the global association of mobile providers GSMA.

Since 2013 we have also been participating in two cross-industry coalitions committed to fighting child abuse on the Internet, the “CEO Coalition to make the Internet a better place for kids" and the "ICT Coalition for the Safer Use of Connected Devices and Online Services by Children and Young People in the EU". The ICT  Coalition published its first annual report in 2014. The report acknowledges our involvement in this area. We continue to be active in both coalitions and remain fully committed to their principles.

Working with the Center for Online Child Protection
During the reporting period we participated in two expert working groups at the Center for Child Protection on the Internet (I-KiZ), a project run by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth. The Network against the Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children, "No Grey Areas on the Internet," was initiated in 2014 within the scope of the project. The aim of the network, which is under the patronage of Manuela Schwesig, Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, is to effectively fight the online depiction of children and young people in sexual poses and ban it internationally. The network got started by setting up a competence center to illuminate the gray areas of sexual exploitation on the Internet.

TM Netherlands carries out various activities under the auspices of the Responsible Mobile Use Program in order to promote the responsible use of mobile phones:

Guest lectures on debt prevention in schools

In 2014 T-Mobile Netherlands cooperated with the Dutch Ministry of Finance and the program “wijzer in Geldzaken’’ to stage more than 30 guest lectures, which reached over 1,000 children. The aim was to protect young people against unnecessary telecom debt ties. The company’s employees held the guest lectures with materials provided by the company. 

Traffic safety

On 16 September 2014 the Dutch Transport Ministry and Safe Traffic Netherlands launched a campaign about the safe use of mobile phones in road vehicles: "Keep Your Eyes on the Road”. T-Mobile Netherlands was the first company from the telecom sector to adopt the campaign and support it through flyers in stores and especially in social media. A similar campaign was launched to encourage safe cycling since 20% of all cycling accidents in the Netherlands are caused by social media use in traffic. The ‘fietsmodus-app’ activates a traffic mode, which works similar to a flight mode. 

Forced Subscriptions

Forced subscriptions are an increasing problem in the Netherlands. Young people are being ‘encouraged’ to go for the most expensive subscriptions and mobile phones. An internal communication campaign focusing on this issue and especially directed at our shop employees is aiming to combat this problem. Moreover, T-Mobile Netherlands has made this issue part of the programs its runs in schools. In 2014, 1000 children were informed. For 2015 the objective is to educate 3000 children.

Kill Switch

Every week more than 300 smartphones are stolen. The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice wanted to do something about this and asked the telecom sector for help. The result was the so-called kill switch and a brand new campaign entitled ‘Boef Proof’ (Thief Proof), which started in 2014. The kill-switch phone enables users to find their smartphones remotely, erase data and lock the device, thus making the stolen smartphone worthless.

De Kindertelefoon

Since 2010 T-Mobile has been sponsoring ‘De Kindertelefoon’, a helpline where children in particular can anonymously call for help. T-Mobile enables children and young people to use their mobile phone to make free calls to this ‘Kindertelefoon’.