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  • Act responsibly. Enable sustainability.
  • 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report
2018 Corporate Responsibility Report

A reliable partner in the digital world

The digital revolution is changing our lives. The technological opportunities that come along with it are almost infinite. Digitalization has the potential to make the world a better place to live in – by providing easy access to information, enabling greater transparency and providing a previously unheard-of capacity to create networks. However, it also poses certain risks, for example to our privacy and to the integrity of society, with some sections of the population leading digital advances while others are left playing catch-up.

Digitalization must therefore be designed to work for people – a task that challenges everyone in politics, business and civil society. In addition, people must be put in a position where they can utilize opportunities and avoid risks. In this context we as a telecommunications company believe we have a responsibility.

This also raises many general ethical issues: How much technology is (still) good for human beings? What defines humans and differentiates us from machines and robots? We have developed Group policies that address questions such as these. For example, in 2018, we added to our existing guiding principles for the Internet of Things and Big Data by introducing a guideline setting out an ethical and responsible approach to artificial intelligence. As early as 2016 we faced up to our corporate digital responsibility by launching an initiative entitled “Are we stumbling blindly into digitalization? We need digital responsibility!” Under this initiative, we are seeking dialog with experts, opinion leaders, but also regular citizens. Furthermore, we are also engaged with partners in numerous other initiatives and through other activities.

In order to ensure everyone can participate equally in the knowledge and information society, it is important that they know how to use digital media safely, competently, and responsibly. Through our numerous media skills projects and initiatives in Germany and Europe, we target children and young people as well as adults and people of a more advanced age.

As one of the largest employers it remains part of our social responsibility to support people seeking refuge in Germany with cultural integration and inclusion in the employment market.

What makes us a reliable partner in the digital world

The extent of digitalization in Germany is continuing to grow. This can be seen in the Digital-Index 2018/2019, which is supported by Deutsche Telekom and managed by D21, Germany’s biggest not-for-profit network for the digital society. The index shows that the proportion of people outside the digital bubble has dropped by 4 percent since 2017. Over the same period, the group of people at the leading edge of digital progress has grown by 3 percent. Nonetheless, there are still major differences between various sections of the population. Having access to modern information technologies is the basis for the ability to participate in the knowledge and information society. We are committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of age, background or education, can participate in digital society. That is why we are continuing to rapidly expand our infrastructure and improve transmission speeds with new, secure technology. At the same time, we use our social initiatives to reduce potential obstacles to ICT img use. We develop our own offers and support partner initiatives with our expertise in this area. In doing so, we always set specific targets – whether for ourselves or in collaboration with our partners.

As we work toward giving as many people as possible the opportunity to participate in the digital world, we set the following focal points for our commitment:

Our activities focus on the following:

Reliable partner in the digital world

Creating awareness
Supporting implementation
Strengthening skills
Creating awareness

The only way to effectively shape the digitalization process is in collaboration with the worlds of business, politics and society. We have taken on the task of driving forward the social discussion on digital responsibility. To do this, we participate in various alliances and partnerships such as the “Corporate Digital Responsibility” initiative run by Katarina Barley, German Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection. We also want to work with our stakeholders to continue developing our new guidelines for working responsibly with artificial intelligence, which we published in 2018. By signing the Charter of Digital Networking we emphasize our commitment.

If the digitalization process is to succeed, it is vital that people have faith in the confidentiality of their personal data. Data protection and data security are top priorities for us. However, handling personal data with due care and attention is also an important element. We promote this approach through our online advice portal and a focus topic in our sustainability magazine “We Care”, for example. The question of whether and how information and news on the internet can be identified as “true” is also vital to ask. In 2018, we launched our new landing page “Media sure! But secure.” This supports a responsible and critical approach to media and improves people’s participation in the digital world.

Supporting implementation

With our expertise, we support projects and initiatives that offer digital solutions for social challenges:

We are also working to further improve access to modern information technology. Within the scope of the Telekom@School initiative, we offer free broadband access to schools throughout Germany. This gives children and young people the opportunity to learn how to use digital media irrespective of their family background.

We also offer special rates to enable low-income customers and people with disabilities to make phone calls and surf the web at reasonable prices. More than one million customers in Germany take advantage of these special plans each year.

Strengthening skills

Teachtoday is part of our engagement “Media sure! But secure.” and focuses on promoting safe, competent use of media by children, young people and parents as well as teachers by offering hands-on tips and materials. One example is the free children’s magazine “Scroller”. The initiative uses this magazine to encourage children to think about how they use media and play a part in shaping the digital world.

Our commitment also encompasses the following:

  • We have been staging “Code+Design Camps” since summer 2018. Young people attending these camps – who may or may not have any prior experience with programming – get to know new technologies and develop their skills under the guidance of professional mentors.
  • We support the Digitale Nachbarschaft (Digital Neighborhood) project, which trains people to be volunteer IT ambassadors.
  • We are also involved in the Digital-Kompass (Digital Compass) project, which offers volunteers a platform to help seniors navigate the internet.
  • In partnership with Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Senioren-Organisationen (BAGSO, German Association of Senior Citizens’ Organizations), we promote media literacy among older people and also support the Goldener Internetpreis (Golden Internet Award) for competent internet users age 60 and up.
  • Along with four other foundations, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung fosters the education and digitalization forum Forum Bildung Digitalisierung that aims to improve education and equal opportunities using digital media.
  • The Deutsche Telekom Stiftung carries out numerous initiatives and projects that cover the full range of institutional education and utilize countless activities and programs to boost achievement in STEM img subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

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