Jay’s experience really hits home and leaves us speechless. All too often, the internet acts as a breeding ground for hatred and incitement. However, we are not powerless – and the more people there are who show civil courage online, the more likely it is that the internet will become a place where everyone can feel safe. We can make it a place where people can come together based on democratic rules.
73 percent of internet users in Germany have seen hate speech on the internet at least once. That figure is as high as 94 percent among 14- to 24-year-olds.*
* The Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia 2020
An attack on us all
The internet offers a world of possibilities and inspiration. It brings people together. Yet it is also increasingly being misused to marginalize and intimidate people, with social networks filling up with lies, insults, and slander. Some see the anonymity of the internet as a license to attack other people without any consequences, and such online attacks spread rapidly as they attract hangers-on. At first, this concentrated hate leaves us speechless. Attacks are often aimed at things like a person’s skin color, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, disability, or religion. Alternatively, people might be targeted because they belong to a certain section of society or because they have a particular job. Political viewpoints are also targeted. Ultimately, anyone can be affected.
Hate divides society
So what is the actual purpose of these attacks? Well, it depends. As you might expect, “silencing” is all about getting specific people to stop speaking out. For example, activists who champion the human rights of refugees online, advocate for women’s rights, or – like Jay – seek to promote transgender issues don’t have to wait long until hateful comments start coming their way. Many people who are affected in this way pull back because they don’t feel able to cope with such huge pressure. Of course, that is exactly what their attackers want. If they can shut down anyone who thinks differently than them, then it appears as if their opinion is the only one that counts. What’s more, important viewpoints are then absent that would otherwise help shape opinions – all because those voices have been silenced. This is how extreme political ideologies can spread, and that is a threat to our democracy!
The situation with internet trolls is a little different. Trolls seem simply to enjoy abusing other people and are not selective in who they target. They thrive on provocation. Even though they are a smaller group than that involved in silencing, their attacks don’t just affect their victims – they ultimately have an impact on all of us.
After all, when insults and antisocial statements become increasingly common, people start to get used to them and then suddenly things that were previously considered outrageous or extreme become socially acceptable.
Sock puppets and love speech
Are you wondering what cute little sock puppets have to do with online hate? Here are some interesting terms related to online etiquette:
Second and third accounts belonging to one and the same person that communicate with each other and back each other up so it looks as if several different people are talking together.
A person who spreads a breathtaking number of negative and provocative comments to disrupt discussions.
Statements designed to demean, attack, or incite hatred or violence against people.
The opposite of hate speech. Love speech is a call for appreciative and respectful language.
An online avalanche of derogatory criticism aimed at a person or company.
A huge outpouring of hate with the aim of forcing alternative opinions out of social media.
Basically, whatever is unlawful in our analog lives is also unlawful online. Offenses such as libel and incitement to hatred are illegal online, too.
Get over your shock!
Although almost all of us have come across hateful comments online before, very few people actually do anything about it.
Instead, when confronted by hate, we are paralyzed by shock. We don’t know whether we should respond or how, so we quickly scroll on.
How could we respond, take a stand against hate, and make discussions more constructive?
Some 23 percent of internet users in Germany have responded to hate speech by criticizing it. Some 25 percent have reported hate speech to the relevant online portal. Some 1 percent have reported hate speech to the police.* * The Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia 2020
Anyone who refuses to be put off by potential negative consequences and chooses to speak out for basic democratic values and human rights on the internet is showing digital civil courage. The good news is that digital civil courage can be learned!
Hate cannot be allowed to become normal. It is not usually possible to change the viewpoint of someone who writes hate speech, but there are lots of people who will read comments and won’t have formed fixed opinions yet. We can encourage these people to think twice, offer them alternative viewpoints, and give them the courage to take a stand against hate, too.
How do you do that? One approach might look like this:
It is important for the victims of hate to see other people taking action. After all, a lack of solidarity can be almost as bad as hate itself. That means taking a clear stand in response to hateful comments. It’s also a good idea to contact the people who have been targeted with a direct message to give them courage.
2Stay calm and don’t let yourself be provoked
Admittedly, that’s easier said than done! Although a swift response is good, it’s not essential. Particularly when you’re emotionally charged, taking a breath and doing something else first can be a good way of clearing your head again.
3Use fact checkers!
Generalizations and fake news are often used to incite hatred against certain groups. In these cases, it makes sense to counter assertions with facts. Doing that is not always as difficult as you might think. False stories and reports that crop up again and again on the internet will often already have been debunked by professional fact checkers such as correctiv, mimikama, Tagesschau Faktenfinder, and ZDFheuteCheck.
4Report posts or comments that breach rules!
You can do this on Facebook by clicking the three dots at the top edge of a post. The administrator is then required to check the post or comment and delete it, if appropriate. When reporting hateful or harmful content to the police it is important to take screenshots or back up the link, ideally with the name and date/time. In Germany, you can file reports either online or at any police station.
5Practice taking on the haters!
Many of the groups that work against online hate speech and marginalization offer free online courses during which people can practice responding and try out new strategies in a safe space. Examples include Ich bin hier, Amadeu Antonio Stiftung, and love storm.
Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges
Hate and incitement have no place in our society – not on the internet and not in real life, where words unfortunately become deeds. We believe everyone should be able to enter into dialog with each other on the basis of fairness. We are taking specific steps to pursue this aim.
Making sure everybody can #TAKEPART without being afraid
At Deutsche Telekom, we passionately believe that people should be able to utilize the benefits of the digital era. That includes doing everything we can to ensure they enjoy their travels in the digital world and don’t have to worry that they are going to be attacked, marginalized, or hurt. We won’t stop until everyone is able to #TAKEPART in the digital sphere without being afraid. That is why we are actively working to shape a positive culture of dialog on the internet.
We launched #nohatespeech in summer 2020, a campaign that centers on real people who have been victims of online hate. The promotional video for the campaign uses Jay’s story to illustrate just how hurtful incitement, abusive language, and insults can be. We want to draw attention to this unacceptable situation. The video is designed to raise awareness, offer victims some support, and, most importantly, encourage more people to show civil courage so that hate does not become normal.
We are pursuing partnerships
A number of committed organizations offer concrete strategies for countering online hate. We work alongside many of these organizations or assist them with their social commitment. For example, we are collaborating with managerfragen.org and #ichbinhier to offer workshops geared toward skills in the digital world and know-how on democracy. We have compiled a selection of our partner organizations and initiatives and what they offer at www.telekom.com/en/company/topic-specials/no-hate-speech.
Countering hate with knowledge
In 2020, we published a new module on digital civil courage under #TAKEPART-STORIES. In it, we show people how they can actively work against hate and incitement. The module comprises guidelines for 25-, 45-, and 90-minute workshops, is aimed at adults, and is primarily intended for people who can help spread the message. Of course, it can also be used by anybody else, too. The learning materials are available in English and German.
Through the “Digital civil courage” series on Teachtoday, we are helping primarily parents, grandparents, and teachers to give children and young people a better understanding of “online hate”. Almost 100 formats on digital topics for 9- to 12-year-olds and 13- to 16-year-olds can be accessed free of charge on Teachtoday. There are videos and exercises for use both at home and in the classroom.
3Scroller media magazine for kids
The online courage issue of our Scroller magazine for kids sets out how to become an online hero, how to vanquish troublemakers on the internet, and who has which strengths when it comes to responding to abuse.
We are taking a stand.
The far right is resurgent in Europe. The pandemic is also causing a great deal of insecurity and anxiety among many people. All that is creating a breeding ground for conspiracy theories and fake news. In our podcast series, we provide information for anyone who would like to know more about the following issues. These are currently only available in German.
Digital civil courage
What exactly is it? What are the differences between the analog and digital worlds? What does it have to do with every one of us? Go to the podcast here.
First-aid course for the internet?
There are any number of people online who come across hate and incitement in the digital world, but only few do anything about it. What has to happen before we take action? Go to the podcast here.
Filter bubbles and echo chambers
What is reality – and what is our life in the filter chamber? How to protect yourself from information monotony and warped perceptions. Go to the podcast here.
What is behind them – and is the digital world actually leading to the development of more, brand-new conspiracy theories? Go to the podcast here.
The power of language
Language influences how we view the world. We can use language consciously and promote constructive dialog on the internet, too. Go to the podcast here.
We’ve all heard of it and we’ve probably all been taken in by it at one time or another. Find out what every one of us can do. Go to the podcast here.
Manipulation on the internet
Using the internet to form your own opinion or falling for spin? What happens to us every day on the internet? Go to the podcast here.
Cause for optimism
Democracy and human rights cannot be taken for granted. That is why we have to champion them – so we don’t lose these achievements. Around 75 percent of the hate online comes from antidemocratic or far-right movements. We should not sit back and wait for new legal frameworks to be put in place to regulate online activities. Instead, we need to empower ourselves to navigate the digital world independently. That includes every one of us showing civil courage so that hate does not become normal.
There is good reason to be optimistic! It has been scientifically proven that if we reinforce our own skills through experience or experimentation, we become more courageous and are more likely to step in when something is not right. We also feel better when we can take a bad feeling and turn it into concrete action, and studies have shown that objective responses to online hate and incitement can considerably defuse arguments. Furthermore, people who demonstrate civil courage are not alone! So far, more than 45,000 people have come together under the #ichbinhier (#Iamhere) hashtag alone to show that they are against hate and marginalization on the internet – every day!
Hans Martin Adler, programmer from the very start, reminisces about the early beginnings of digitalization and the time before the internet
The entire world in a state of emergency
Extraordinary events such as natural disasters – and a virus pandemic – remind us that no one is immune to crises. Some crises arise suddenly and unexpectedly, while others, such as climate change, develop over time. We humans have always sought to prepare for possible emergencies and to make life "crisis proof." Are we now, in the digital age, better prepared for such events than generations before us were?
50 years ago, it was already possible to read a newspaper in the morning, watch TV news in the evening and listen to the radio during the rest of the day. But there was no internet. Today, the internet gives us access to a vast range of news sources 24/7. Now, breaking news spreads like wildfire in social media, and we have apps that can warn us immediately in the case of any disaster.
On the other hand, all kinds of storytellers are active online – peddling fairytales, distorting facts and dishing up brazen lies. Sometimes their deception is so skillful that it becomes difficult to recognize.
School at the kitchen table
50 years ago, month-long school closures would have meant month-long breaks in learning for most children. Today, teachers can teach and tutor their students online. Parents helping their children with their schoolwork can bone up online for that if they need to. And they can do so free of any constraints of place or time – and in tune with their own individual schedules and pace.
In online-schooling settings, children with poor educational opportunities, as a result of their social environments or backgrounds, can be at risk of falling even further behind. This is because children, to succeed in online learning, need the right equipment, a quiet, learning-conducive environment at home and parents who can provide the necessary tutoring.
Still up and running
What happens when employees can't come into the office? Not very long ago, that would have meant disaster for many companies. Today, while such a situation still creates problems for many businesses, a new option is available in that many jobs can now be done at home. Some companies have even been able to grow in this time of crisis, thanks to all their employees working from home.
In both office and home settings, data connections can come under attack by fraudsters or cybercriminals. Email phishing is a widely used tactic for gaining access to sensitive information and data. Thoughtlessly opened phishing emails can cripple entire company networks.
Just a click away?
50 years ago, when people needed new shoes, they had to go to a shoe store. And if the shoe store was closed, they couldn't get any new shoes. Today, nearly any products, including clothing, furniture and food, can easily be ordered online for home delivery. Internet business has been booming, and the current crisis has only intensified this trend.
But what would happen if a natural disaster made our roads impassable? We can do without a pair of new shoes or even toilet paper, but we can survive only four days without water and only three weeks without food. Many people now see the idea of stockpiling emergency supplies as outdated. But a lack of supplies can cost lives in an emergency.
Support your Local Dealer People who like to have bustling downtown areas to stroll through should start thinking more carefully about what companies they order from online. This is something that consumers are becoming more aware of. In a recent survey conducted by the Bitkom digital association, three-quarters of all respondents indicated that they are now increasingly seeking, in their online shopping, to support retailers located within their own regions.
When lakes and rivers reach flood stage, and entire communities are cut off from the outside world, responders need to act fast. During the major floods of 2002 and 2013, volunteer helpers turned out in droves and worked tirelessly. While helpers were equally willing in both events, they were able to organize themselves more effectively in 2013, thanks to social networks. In that year, groups of helpers formed spontaneously, and up-to-the minute information was provided under the hashtag #hochwasser (#flood).
In a crisis, people need reliable information. Unfortunately, even in such extreme situations some people try to mislead helpers by deliberately providing false information.
Slowing climate change
For over 50 years now, we have known that human-caused greenhouse emissions can threaten the world's climate. Although news media have given this issue a great deal of attention, a great many people are still doing – nothing. And yet each of us can help protect the climate. For example, we can communicate online to organize lending and borrowing of household tools, such as power drills and lawn mowers. When people lend and borrow products, instead of owning them, fewer products need to be produced. That conserves valuable raw materials and reduces CO2 emissions from production and transport.
On the other hand, the internet also uses plenty of energy. If it were a country, it would rank sixth internationally in energy consumption. Consequently, network technology needs to be energy efficient, and it needs to be powered by climate-neutral renewable energies. We at Deutsche Telekom consider it our duty to apply this insight.
On average, we use a drill for just 6 minutes in its product life before we dispose of it. And yet there is a much more sustainable way to use it.
Play a little
Sports and recreation are good for us, and they can help calm our fears and anxieties – both in general and during a crisis. But what happens when sports and recreational facilities, and restaurants and movie theaters, are all closed? 50 years ago, the only option then available might have been a good book – or a very limited selection of TV channels. Today, streaming services offer an endless variety of entertainment, and e-readers can hold entire libraries of books. Thanks to online fitness trainers, your living room can double as a gym. You can also go online to visit museums and to watch theater performances and concerts.
But watching a behind-closed-doors sporting event at home, on TV, simply doesn't compare to getting caught up in it with thousands of other people at a stadium. Most of us would not really want to live our lives online.
Scoller-TV • All of us have spent a lot of time at home during the pandemic. As of the end of March, our MagentaTV customers in Germany can now enjoy #DABEI, a new TV channel. #DABEI offers entertainment for young and old, including programs on fitness and health for body and mind, talk shows and news and Kids@home programming. One example of what Kids@home is doing is SCROLLER-TV, a program aimed at inspiring elementary school kids to use media creatively and competently. A first episode, "My little photography school" ("Meine kleine Fotoschule"), was shown at the end of April.
Closeness in spite of distance
50 years ago, when you wanted to talk to friends and loved ones who happened to be someplace else, you called them on the phone. If you wanted to see them, you had to go to where they were. Today, videoconferencing apps on our smartphones and other devices keep us in constant visual touch with family and friends – even across large distances. We can cultivate friendships across entire continents, even with people we have never met in person. And when people get separated by wars or natural disasters, smartphones give them a way – often, the only way – to stay connected. Not surprisingly, people who are fleeing from trouble guard their smartphones as their most prized possessions.
There are so many kinds of personal closeness that the internet cannot replace. Online, you can't hug people, share the euphoria at a concert, move on a crowded dance floor, cuddle with someone during a movie, comfort an anxious person, dry someone's tears or hold a dying person's hand...
We at Telekom want everyone to #TAKEPART even in times of crisis. That is our promise, that is what we are committed to
Online shopping, and working and learning at home can make our everyday lives easier in times of crisis. Online entertainment and social networks offer us welcome distraction and help us cultivate community. We at Deutsche Telekom want everyone to be able to #TAKEPART, even in a crisis – that is our promise and that is what we work for. And we are convinced that that digital innovations can make our society more resilient in the face of crises. But innovations don't simply succeed by themselves. As technology plays a greater and greater role in our lives, we have to make sure that it will continue to work smoothly even in crisis situations. In our case, the basis for reliable technology consists of stable, secure networks.
Thanks to billion-dollar investments, the Telekom-network has run smoothly throughout the entire crisis period to date
Deutsche Telekom's network is stable
We now work from home, teach our children at home and have streaming marathons. As people do more and more online, we need a network that can reliably handle all of the data they produce. Over the past few years, we have invested billions in our network expansion, and we continue to expand and upgrade our network.
These investments have already paid off – during the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, our network has continued to operate problem-free, without a single major failure. And our strategy of "building broadband for millions instead of ultra-broadband for a few" has paid off as well. In Germany, it has helped enable more than 90% of our population to have access to fast internet service during the pandemic.
In emergency situations and large-scale failures, we can replace complete exchanges within only 48 hours using mobile masts and special vehicles
Ready at all times
Unfortunately, hurricanes and torrential rainstorms are becoming more and more common as climate change progresses. In addition to flooding cellars and uprooting trees, such weather events also damage Deutsche Telekom's infrastructure. They can force water into underground cables and sever above-ground lines. But what happens if internet and telephone service for entire regions gets crippled? In critical situations, a Deutsche Telekom team of experts meets within 15 minutes, analyzes the situation and takes immediate measures. With mobile cell towers, and specially equipped trucks, we can quickly set up temporary mobile networks. We can even replace entire exchanges within 48 hours. Network failures can sorely try our customers' patience. Fortunately, mobile networks almost always continue to function, without any limitations, even in extreme weather conditions. This is why we use text messaging to keep our customers updated about such situations.
We are experienced in responding to crises such as floods and storms. This also applies to our national companies, which are always prepared to respond. In the U.S., for example, T-Mobile US takes preventive measures to ensure that networks stay up and running during the hurricane season. Such measures include regular crisis drills, upgrades of mobile network stations and provision of information to help people prepare for forecast storms. In addition, T-Mobile US supports people in affected regions, as necessary, with key emergency equipment such as generators.
We're there for our employees
We give our employees room to grow personally and professionally and to make a positive contribution to our company and society through their work. To that end, for example, we support them with comprehensive education and training programs, promote their health and offer them options for enhancing their work-life balance. And, needless to say, we are also there for them in times of crisis.
When the Covid-19 crisis began, we provided over 60,000 employees in Germany and 180,000 employees around the world with solutions for working from home – all within just a few days. But not all jobs can be carried out from home. Our service technicians, for example, continued to make service calls – with suitable personal protection – even during the peak of the crisis. They continued to connect accesses, lay cable and set up cellular base stations. All of them showed enormous commitment. Thanks to their tireless efforts, the initial-resolution rate in our service has been higher during the crisis than ever before.
Cut off from the outside world Having network access can be critically important during a crisis. Deutsche Telekom's nearly 6,000 service technicians have continued to make service calls even during the coronavirus pandemic. To protect our customers and employees against infection, we impose strict safety precautions, including social distancing of at least 1.5 m, and wearing of gloves, masks, protective goggles and overshoes. In addition, when risk factors are especially high, Deutsche Telekom technicians also have access to full-coverage personal protective equipment (PPE), such as isolation gowns.
At the end of March, we reached a collective agreement with employee representatives in Germany in record time. As part of that agreement, we agreed to extend protection against dismissal through the end of 2023, and we agreed on rules for implementing short-time work. The employees affected by short-time work include staff at our Telekom Shops. We have increased those employees' short-time working allowance to 85% of their gross salaries.
"LEX4Kids" is a great example of how our employees have been supporting each other during the Covid-19 crisis. In our internal social network, employees offer their colleagues' children an exciting program of entertainment – ranging from bedtime stories for small children to webinars for older kids, on interesting topics such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.
Our Group Situation Center runs a 24/7 hotline for our employees in Germany. They are welcome to call it in all kinds of threat situations, including the current pandemic. The Situation Center addresses all security-relevant events, and it coordinates and monitors measures in response to acute threats. Our national companies worldwide maintain similar points of contact for their staff.
Home offices can come under attack Our "Business Network Protect Complete" product protects small businesses against cyberattacks. It combines a Wi-Fi router and a smart firewall in one device. It protects against attacks from cyberspace – and it is suitable for employees working from home.
Staying secure online
As more and more of our everyday lives move online, data protection becomes more and more important. For example, fraudsters often masquerade as government agencies, in order to spread viruses through the network via email or to gain access to personal data. Therefore, caution is advised: Always carefully scrutinize email attachments before opening them, and never thoughtlessly disclose personal data.
Data protection and data security have top priority for Deutsche Telekom, crisis or no crisis. We protect our customers' data with a comprehensive range of measures. Deutsche Telekom's Cyber Defense and Security Operation Center (SOC) in Bonn analyzes security-relevant data around-the-clock and efficiently combats cyberattacks. It is the largest such center in Europe. Deutsche Telekom has similar SOCs worldwide, and they are all linked together. These centers combat attacks around the clock, with a total of 240 experts. We offer a great range of security solutions for consumers and business customers. And we help our customers protect themselves.
"I plan to reduce my own travel significantly even after the crisis is over. I find I am more productive when I'm not traveling constantly."
Tim Höttges, Deutsche Telekom CEO
Learning from experience
The Covid-19 crisis has taken us all by surprise. When it began, none of us knew what was really on the way. The virus has brought pain and suffering for patients and for people mourning deceased friends and loved ones. And the pandemic has hamstrung the global economy. Still, the coronavirus pales by comparison to the Spanish flu, which led to the death of an estimated 27 to 50 million people worldwide in the early 20th century.
Other types of crises, such as climate change, build gradually. About climate change: We humans are responsible for the majority of the global warming that has occurred over the past 50 years. And it is up to us to mitigate the impacts of climate change, by making our lifestyles more sustainable. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how quickly we can adapt to new situations. The measures taken around the world to combat the pandemic have led to significant decreases in CO2 emissions. We have seen dramatic improvements in our cities' air quality, and our skies have become clearer and our roads quieter. To some extent, these things have also happened because many areas of our lives have shifted online. We can learn from this experience and use it to make our lives more climate friendly in the future.
Our success in this will also depend on what measures governments take in order to restart their economies. In April 2020, Deutsche Telekom, along with 67 other companies, called on the German government not to lose sight of climate policy. What we want is for economic measures taken to address the Covid-19 and climate crises to be closely coordinated.
At Deutsche Telekom, climate protection continues to have high priority, and it is an integral part of our company strategy. We have set clear goals in this area, including the following: By 2021, we plan to make the power sources for our entire Deutsche Telekom network, throughout the entire gamut from mobile telecommunications to the high-speed DSL network, completely renewables-based. More information about this is available here.
Innovative solutions and non-bureaucratic support during the Covid-19 crisis
As we see it, in times of crisis our responsibility goes beyond just keeping our network stable and secure. We need to offer a wide range of resources, on both small and large scales. Here are a few selected examples:
Tim Höttges on Shareholders' Meeting 2020
the coronavirus warning app In cooperation with SAP, and under commission to the German government, we have developed a coronavirus warning app. It does more than simply provide access to the results of coronavirus tests. Using a special Bluetooth technology, the app is able to detect other nearby smartphones that also have the warning app installed. When two devices get within 2 m of each other, for a defined period of time, they exchange an encrypted code that they then save for a two-week period. When a person tests positively for Covid-19, they can voluntarily enter this result in the app. Then, other app-equipped persons who came close to that infected person receive a warning on their smartphone. Thanks to the encryption technology used, no one ever knows who the infected person is or where and when they were near that person. This app shows how useful digitalization in the health-care sector can be, and it demonstrates how data protection can be safeguarded in the context of such applications. More information about the coronavirus warning app is available here.
SIM cards plus corresponding data volume was provided by Magenta Telekom to children of households in need
Deutsche Telekom in Germany A coronavirus warning app informs users anonymously when they have come in contact with an infected person (see the info box).
The COVID-19 app gives patients fast, reliable results of virus tests
T-Systems Iberia Has used 3D printers to manufacture protective equipment
OTE Greece Has donated over 2 million euros, including for ventilators and intensive-care beds
Examples of free services during the crisis
• Deutsche Telekom in Germany Extra data allowances Special web services for our business customers' home offices Free videoconferencing services for schools
Hrvatski Telekom Extra data allowances
T-Systems Netherlands Laptops for elementary schools
Magenta Telekom 10,000 SIM cards, with suitable data allowances, for children living in low-income households
Crnogorski Telekom Free smartphones and internet access, for a two-month period, for children in vulnerable groups
Our lives are becoming increasingly digital. Artificial intelligence has long since evolved from the stuff of science fiction into reality. Put your knowledge about our everyday digital world to the test.
Question 1 out of 5
Computers are capable of creating works of art
380,500 euros – that’s how much someone was willing to pay for a painting by a computer in 2018. The artwork created by an artificial intelligence (AI) went under the hammer at auction house Christie’s. But that’s not all. AI also writes music that even experts can’t tell apart from works by human composers. What’s more, artificial intelligence trained in human poetry can create poems in the style of renowned figures such as Goethe and Schiller. Be it paintings, compositions, or poetry – experts are in disagreement as to whether such works are genuine art or just imitations. Either way, humans are unable to tell the difference.
Question 2 out of 5
Artificial intelligence can recognize the spread of infectious diseases such as coronavirus faster than the World Health Organization (WHO).
Artificial intelligence (AI) is capable of reliably predicting the spread of infectious diseases. A computer program developed by the Canadian company BlueDot issued a warning about the outbreak of coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan and the consequential spreading nine days before the WHO. For its prognosis, the software sourced data from flight databases, official health warnings, regional news, blogs, and forum posts, among other things. The calculations were then assessed by epidemiologists.
Question 3 out of 5
Computers can figure out what we are like as a person based on a few likes on social networks.
Sharing information on social networks about what you like reveals a lot about you as a person. In a study, researchers from Stanford University and the University of Cambridge concluded that, based on Facebook likes, computers can assess an individual’s personality traits just as accurately as close friends and family can. The more likes that were evaluated, the better the computer’s assessment was. Those who wish to protect their data from misuse should therefore disclose as little information about themselves as possible. This includes making likes in social networks private – with a simple click of the privacy button.
Question 4 out of 5
Computers are being deployed as court judges.
To date, computers have not replaced court judges. But even the justice system cannot escape digitalization. In the United States, software programs are used to help judges make decisions. If the software predicts a high chance of reoffending, this will be factored into the sentencing process. Besides this adjudication, AI also plays a role in the wider justice system, including in Germany. Lawyers use software to see how likely an appeal against penalty fines for traffic offenses is to succeed, which allows them to get through ten times more cases. The use of artificial intelligence in the legal system ought to serve the public. That’s why, in 2018, the Council of Europe published fundamental ethical principles for deploying AI in this context. Among other things, it is now necessary to be able to check how artificial intelligence reaches its conclusions.
Question 5 out of 5
Ultimately, humans are also just algorithms.
In fact, there are scientific theories that suggest all organisms are made up of algorithms – humans included.
What even is an algorithm? An algorithm is basically a defined formula that leads to a result. This doesn’t have to be a mathematical formula. It could even be a recipe for baking. Step 1: Weigh out the ingredients. Step 2: Prepare the dough. Step 3: Pre-heat the oven… The result of this algorithm is a delicious cake.
All computers use algorithms. In contrast to humans, they can go through them much faster and therefore process a much larger amount of data. In this way, they generate results that humans would never be able to figure out. Some researchers suggest that living organisms also function with help from algorithms that have successfully asserted themselves over the course of evolution. Indeed, 99 percent of all bodily functions are performed unconsciously.
DATA SHARING IS CARING
The future belongs to data. But who owns the data? What makes our data so valuable and what would be if everyone could benefit from it? We address these and other questions in our We Care-magazine.
Humans vs. machines
But what will happen if technical algorithms become increasingly faster, better, and more intelligent? Will the data that we voluntarily share not only be used for advertising purposes, but also to manipulate us? If artificial intelligence perhaps knows us better than we do, should we let it make our decisions for us? Will our lives become easier if robots and other machines take over more and more tasks from us? And what will we do then? Will we perhaps become one with machines? Or is the history of humanity coming to an end?
All just a product of our imagination?
Science fiction authors and movie directors have always depicted what our future could look like, bringing various scenarios to life on paper and our screens:
Privacy was nothing more than a phase that is now over. (Mae Holland)
The sci-fi movie “The Circle” is based on the popular novel by Dave Eggers, which tells the tale of the young and ambitious Mae Holland as she lands a job at The Circle, the world’s most influential IT company. The Circle advocates for complete transparency from everyone. The right to anonymity is abolished, eliminating any difference between what is private and what is public. People wear mini cameras that constantly stream recordings to the web. As far as the company is concerned, if you don’t have anything to hide, you’ve got no reason to refuse such transparency. The more people who subscribe to this logic, the more powerful The Circle becomes.
The movie "Matrix" is set in the 21st century and humanity has developed increasingly intelligent machines. Artificial intelligence is demanding equality. Yet humans refuse. The machine revolution becomes an inevitability. In an attempt to turn off the machines, humans darken the skies to block their access to energy. But the machines are more powerful and win the war. To ensure they have enough energy, they raise humans in intensive farms. Nutrition tanks provide the humans with everything they need to survive. A virtual illusion – the matrix – lets them believe they are living in a real world. Very few are able to see through this illusion and break free. Agent Smith pursues those who rebel.
Look out that window. You had your time. The future is our time. (Agent Smith)
I would rather die a man, than live for all eternity a machine. (Andrew)
The movie “Bicentennial Man” is based on a book by Isaac Asimov, one of the best-known science fiction writers of the 20th century. The story is set in 2005. Machines are servants for humans. Household robot Andrew is unique in that he develops feelings and self-awareness. As the years go on, he increasingly develops human traits. He asks his owners for freedom so he can achieve his dream – to be accepted as a human. The world parliament, however, refuses to give him human status because he is immortal. In response, Andrew changes his body to initiate a natural aging process. Shortly before his death, he is officially recognized as the oldest human by the world parliament.
The potential for a better world
Science fiction movies show us how some people imagine the future – but no one can predict what it will look like in reality. Day in, day out, we all experience that our world is changing at an ever-greater speed. Computers and artificial intelligence have long since become indispensable in our day-to-day lives. Most of the time, they help us without us even noticing. This is the start of a development that can no longer be stopped – and we wouldn’t want to stop it, either. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would, seeing as artificial intelligence can help us detect illnesses and develop new methods of treatment. If we find technical solutions to slow down climate change, who would be against using them? And who would want to wave goodbye to the ability to always keep in touch no matter how far apart we are? Yet it’s naturally important that we don’t let all our enthusiasm cloud our judgment as we head into the digital future, but rather define a clear direction and a binding framework. At the end of the day, artificial intelligence is just a neutral tool. We, the humans, are the ones who decide whether it works to our advantage or not.
The Internet not only changes how we engage politically and allows us to participate in shaping the future, it has also changed politics itself. More in the We Care issue focusing on digital democracy
Power through the network
When it comes to shaping our digital future, we all have our part to play – not just politicians and companies. Every single one of us can make a contribution and take part in decision-making processes. Here, too, digitalization offers valuable assistance. Never before have we had unrestricted access to information. Never before have we been able to communicate and organize ourselves so easily across borders. We can make ourselves heard and influence social debates, for example with online petitions. We are able to condemn injustices and call out those responsible directly online. Last but not least, we can come together as a global community and fight for a common objective. The recent Fridays for Future movement and the #MeToo debate are just some examples of what can be achieved.
#TAKEPART – our top priority
Deutsche Telekom is eager to ensure everyone can #TAKEPART and benefit from the opportunities offered by the web. And the basis for that is fast and high-performance internet access. That’s why we invest billions each year in network expansion – in 2019, the figure was some EUR 13 billion across the Group. In Germany, we have been the largest investor in this area for years. As a company that both drives and shapes digitalization, we believe our responsibility extends beyond merely providing access to technology. We also want to help people surf the web with confidence and skill. “We won’t be satisfied until everyone can #TAKEPART” is the key message of our #TAKEPART brand campaign.
After all, new opportunities also give rise to new challenges. How can I track down the relevant facts in an abundance of information and how can I find the right allies for my cause? How do I spot fake news and break free from filter bubbles? How can I stop my data from being misused – and to what extent can I relinquish my privacy without it causing me harm? Answering these questions calls for media literacy – the key skill on our path toward the digital future.
That’s why we as Telekom dedicate great effort to empowering people to use digital media with confidence and skill and to promoting coexistence on the web in accordance with democratic principles. In 2019, we reached 12.8 million people with our wide range of media literacy offerings.
What we do
We present all of our initiatives for greater media literacy on the “Media, sure! But secure.” website. Focusing on the latest topics, from digital democracy and online friendships right through to data privacy and security, our #TAKEPART stories are easy to understand, innovative, and full of good advice. In our endeavor to ensure no one is left behind in the digital future, we also offer this information in simplified language. Our „Teachtoday“ initiative supports children, young people, parents, grandparents, and teachers by offering hands-on tips and materials.
Data privacy and security are high up on our agenda when it comes to helping shape our digital future. We take part in political discourse, collaborate with partners from the spheres of politics, business, and science, and pave the way for progress – for example with our guidelines for artificial intelligence.
Our guidelines for artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is also featured in an ever-growing number of ICT products and services from Deutsche Telekom. Eager to pursue a responsible and ethical approach to AI, in 2018 we devised guidelines for this very purpose. Since then, we have carried out training sessions and workshops on implementing these guidelines in our company, organized a conference on digital ethics, integrated the AI guidelines into contractually relevant provisions for our suppliers, and developed an internal test seal for ethical AI products and applications that meet our high expectations.
Leading by example
The internet is full of dedicated people, inspiring ideas, and countless opportunities to help shape the future. Here, we would like to present some of the initiatives that unite people from across the globe and advocate for a fair society.
Since it was founded in 2018, the Center for Humane Technology has been on a mission to ensure that the advances and opportunities of modern-day technology serve society, strengthen democracy, enhance prosperity, and help solve global challenges. Some years ago, Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google and a co-founder of this NGO, noticed the negative impact of business models geared toward ensuring people spend as much time online as possible. Today, Harris and his team therefore advocate for products and services founded on the principles of humane technology.
The nonprofit organization AlgorithmWatch is committed to evaluating and shedding light on algorithmic decision-making processes that have a social relevance, meaning they are used either to predict or prescribe human action or to make decisions automatically.
The “Unfuck the world” initiative inspires people across the globe to make the world a better place – online and offline. Large festivals are also organized on a regular basis. One example is the democracy festival due to take place on June 12, 2020 in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. This particular event aims to offer a platform for presenting solutions to the most pressing problems of today and endorsing them there and then, e.g. by way of petitions.
In the Chaos Computer Club e.V. (CCC), hackers from across Europe have come together to provide information about technical and social issues (e.g. privacy, data protection, and the provision of information). For 30 years, the CCC has met these targets by means of various events and campaigns, lobbying activities, publications, and services.
OpenAI focuses on researching artificial intelligence. The organization’s main donors are investor and entrepreneur Elon Musk and the Microsoft corporation. The aim of OpenAI is to develop and commercialize open-source artificial intelligence so that it benefits society and doesn’t harm it.
This not-for-profit platform enables citizens to ask German authorities for information and documents. This is based on the conviction, which is anchored in statute, that every person has a right to information.
Global Digital Women (GDW), an international company of movers and shakers in the digital sector, centers around digitalization and diversity. The aim is to network today’s inspiring digital thinkers, give them a voice, and provide them with support. GDW offers women in businesses, politics, associations, and organizations a platform and space to discuss ideas and make their career path visible.
Initiatives against hate on social media
There are various movements on social media that are committed to creating a better society in accordance with democratic principles and in which everyone can take part. One example is the #ichbinhier (#iamhere) Facebook group, which strives to tackle hate comments and bullying online. Following riots in the German city of Chemnitz in 2018, #wirsindmehr (#wearemore) was created to challenge right-wing extremism. The platform “hassmelden.de” offers the opportunity to report hate comments, racist abuse, insults, or threats. Reports of content that could be of interest to law enforcement agencies is forwarded directly to the central agency for fighting internet criminality (ZIT) run by the chief public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt am Main.
CORRECTIV is a nonprofit research hub dedicated to promoting democracy and combating extremist views. Its team of reporters defend against fake news and send a clear signal against extremism.
Got a good idea but in need of some seed money? With crowdfunding, you can present your projects on special online platforms and ask your community for financial support. Those who manage to convince enough investors can put their ideas into action, as with the crowdfunding concept, you build up your seed money through lots of small amounts.
Shaping the future together
Data is the commodity of the 21st century – and all of us are data suppliers. It is our shared responsibility to ensure data is used to our advantage and not to our detriment. Let’s tap into the opportunities digitalization offers us to shape our future together.
A better digital society is possible.
Is the web driving our society further apart – or bringing us closer together? And does digitalization represent an opportunity or a risk in the context of social participation? We put these questions to Clemens Brandstetter, founder of the managerfragen.org platform, which aims to get managers and members of the public talking.
Formerly himself a manager at Deutsche Telekom, Brandstetter is now Executive Director of consulting firm macc and also writes books. He focuses on issues involving the (digital) transformation of business/companies and society, innovation, new ways of working, and (public) leadership.
1. Mr. Brandstetter, is our society being steamrollered by the sheer speed of digitalization?
I’m a positive person and firmly believe we can cope. Mankind has always been highly adaptable and quick to learn, but we’re currently facing a period of historic upheaval – and the speed at which things are changing can sometimes prove too much for us. Each of us is aware of this in our everyday lives, but it’s also apparent when looking at traditional institutions. Legislation is failing to keep pace and school curricula are also lagging behind. We’re at a crossroads, so it’s now a case of setting the correct course for digitalization. I’m convinced that a better society will then be possible – “Democracy 2.0” as it were – with opportunities for more dialog, involvement, and social participation.
2. And if we don’t succeed?
Obviously, there are also risks. We all leave millions of data traces online, for example, and this data can be misused. Everyone has experienced that uneasy feeling when related product advertising suddenly appears following a web search. We’re currently seeing in China where this can lead in extreme cases. A system is to be introduced there that awards people points and classifies them as “good” or “bad” citizens based on things such as their online search and purchase behavior. We must be very careful to ensure the technological possibilities don’t erode our democracy, because whoever controls the technology can also influence opinions and even win elections. That’s the negative vision – a data dictatorship.
3. What do we need to do to enhance the positive effects and lessen the negative ones?
“Democracy 2.0” also requires “Enlightenment 2.0” – we need to look at the underlying technology and mechanisms, asking how a search engine works and why we get different results to our neighbors. How can we form an opinion and check facts, and how can we decide what happens to our data? We must learn to retain control and not allow ourselves to be manipulated.
4. Who is responsible for this?
The aim must be to reach as many people as possible and equip them with digital skills that help them with specific everyday tasks. Given the rapid pace of digitalization, we above all require flexible projects, initiatives, networks, communities, etc. Such organizational entities can adapt faster to changes than traditional institutions and curricula. Companies also have a role to play in this regard – especially technology companies, because they have the necessary know-how and can use this to support existing initiatives or start their own media literacy projects.
5. Should companies also be actively involved in social debates and take a stance?
That’s a controversial issue. In my opinion, companies should and must take a stance. They’re part of society and can’t shy away from important debates. We can’t dream of an open information society while companies shut themselves off. On the contrary, they must open up, stand up for their values, and enter into dialog.
6. On the web in particular, this dialog isn’t always objective. In 2019, your managerfragen.org platform organized a dialog event that required people to identify themselves as either as an “angry citizen” or a “business boss” when registering to take part. Does our society really pit angry members of the public against ignorant managers?
The media’s tendency to aggravate, generalize, and simplify matters existed long before the internet, but this has become worse still on social media. That was one of the main reasons for founding managerfragen.org – we need to start talking more with each other again instead of about each other. The title of the event– asking whether we really are a society of horrible bosses and angry citizens – was deliberately intended to be provocative. We wanted to challenge people’s prejudices. That’s one of the big opportunities offered by the internet – it creates new meeting places to learn from each other and overcome prejudices.
7. One final question – do you think we’re currently heading for more division or more common ground?
In my opinion, despite all the divisional tendencies, we’re also currently seeing exactly the opposite in society – a strong desire to grow closer again and shape the future together. For example, “Fridays for Future” has gained impressive global momentum in just a short space of time. The internet has played its part in this, so I’m optimistic about the future – and motivated to make my own contribution to improving the level of dialog and understanding.
Everyday life goes digital
The digital revolution is fundamentally changing our lives – something we’re all witnessing on a daily basis. We learn and work online, keep in touch with friends and family, read, and watch box sets. Many people would find everyday life without the internet hard to imagine.
Digital connectivity can improve many aspects of our world. It can help us lead more sustainable lives by using the internet to share everyday items instead of buying new ones or controlling our homes digitally to save energy, for example.
and join in
The web also makes it easier for us to join in and help shape our society. We have continuous access to information and find allies the world over who share our concerns. We are able to condemn injustices and call out those responsible directly online. We can also make ourselves heard and influence social debates. There’s also a downside, though, because everyone being able to have their say doesn’t automatically make for a better debate. Anyone taking a stance online
must expect opposition and, unfortunately, this is not always constructive. The web is full of hate comments, media frenzies, and fake news.
Like virtually every ground-breaking invention in history, the internet brings about both positive and negative developments. Society needs to learn how to harness the opportunities offered by digitalization and reduce its risks. In short, “digital enlightenment” is required – something our company clearly shares responsibility for as a telecommunications provider.
Our “Love Magenta Connected Underwear” that enables couples to let each other know when they feel the need to spend some quality time together may well be a tongue-in-cheek gimmick, but it does have a serious side, because many of us find it difficult to switch off our beloved smartphones once in a while. In a survey commissioned by Deutsche Telekom, over a third of respondents in Germany aged between 18 and 34 admitted focusing too much on their mobile devices, even when their partner was around. No fewer than 39 percent said the use of mobile devices negatively affects the intimacy of their relationship with their partner. This obsession with mobile devices causes people to miss things in real life that should actually have merited their full attention.
In our opinion, if the internet becomes omnipresent in all areas of our lives, we must learn to be more aware of how we use it. “Connected Underwear” may initially appear to be nothing more than a joke, but it does grab our attention, which may just also get us to take a critical look at our smartphone use. The “Connected Underwear” website also contains tips for taking a digital timeout, while a relationship counselor provides recommendations on appropriate smartphone use for couples.
Just switch off for a moment
Be honest: Was your first touch on your smartphone this morning? We hardly notice anymore how much digital content we actually consume. And we give mobile phones etc. a lot of power over us. We Care magazine shows how to simply switch off. More info here
Being able to switch off is part and parcel of using the web with skill and confidence, but it’s important to make a conscious decision to do so – and not simply be forced into it because technical problems are preventing you from accessing the internet or you feel overwhelmed by the technology or options available. Anyone who is permanently offline in our digital world runs the risk of social exclusion.
As a company that is driving and shaping digitalization, we see it as our responsibility not only to provide technical access, but also to help people navigate the web with confidence. “We are only happy when everyone, without exception, can #TAKEPART” is the key message of our #TAKEPART brand campaign.
Barbara Costanzo, Vice President for Group Social Engagement at Deutsche Telekom AG
We help people navigate the web with confidence and follow democratic rules so that everyone can #TAKEPART.
#TAKEPART is all about equal participation in social, economic, and cultural life. Everyone should be able to make use of the opportunities the web offers us – bringing us closer to family and friends, making learning more enjoyable, improving health care, and ensuring better mutual understanding as a result of coming across different perspectives every day online.
Our #TAKEPART brand campaign therefore also encourages greater tolerance when we interact with each other digitally. At the end of the day, EVERYONE should be able to participate in the knowledge and information society. As we see it, this also demands that people who have different opinions, sexual preferences, or customs are treated with respect online.
How we are encouraging digital participation
We believe there are three key factors for ensuring everyone can participate in our digital society on equal terms – technical access to fast networks, the affordability of equipment and services, and the ability to use digital media competently. It is important to pay equal attention to all three of these factors if the improvement in digital participation is to be both meaningful and sustainable.
billion euros was invested in expanding our network in 2019.
Spades at the ready!
Superfast, continuous web access is the ultimate goal, so we are working hard to give everyone high-speed internet connections. We are already able to provide 98 percent of the rural and urban population in Germany with fast LTE cellular links, and 30 million households were already benefiting from fast broadband internet at the end of 2019.
That’s still not enough for us, though, so we are investing billions in network expansion. Our aim is to eliminate the final dead spots and make real progress with expanding the fiber-optic network.
Internet access is not a luxury
It’s obviously not possible for everyone to have the latest smartphone and the plan with the largest data volume, but a fast internet connection and a modern mobile device that works properly should not be an unaffordable luxury. We therefore offer a whole host of different rate plans for every budget. The “Magenta Mobil Young” (website in German) rate plans for anyone under the age of 28 are just one example. We are also the only supplier in Germany to offer a subsidized rate for eligible customers. Recipients of BAföG student grants or unemployment benefits and those
with severe disabilities, for example, can apply for the subsidized rate for their phone line.
We also sell used, refurbished smartphones (website in German) that are in perfect technical condition at significantly reduced prices that make them affordable even to those on a tight budget. In addition to being cheaper, they’re good for the climate, too, because the manufacturing process accounts for around 75 percent of a smartphone’s CO2 emissions. Using smartphones for longer thus reduces emissions of greenhouse gases that harm the environment.
We want everyone on board as we head into the digital future. And that means going online should bring positive experiences and do no harm. Data security and data protection are top priorities for us. Navigating the web skillfully is equally important, though, so we promote media literacy among children, young people, and adults of all ages. They should all learn how to use digital media in a targeted, critical, responsible, and creative way.
More than literacy
As we see it, promoting media literacy also means helping to ensure everyone is able to participate confidently and constructively in democratic processes and social debates. The spotlight was on this very issue in 2019 at an unexpected location – IFA in Berlin, the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show – where we risked an experiment. Our booth focused not only on new products and services, but also on digital participation. On each day of the event, exciting workshops on “Digital democracy”, “Banishing trolls”, and “Recognizing fake news” were held. The experiment was a success, with 665 visitors taking part, even though none of them came to the trade show with that in mind.
Our cooperation partners
We are working closely with numerous initiatives, networks, and associations to improve digital participation.
Here are a few examples of our cooperations in Germany:
This team of reporters guards against deliberate fake news and is committed to promoting media literacy. We are supporting the creation of the “Reporterfabrik” web academy and holding joint workshops on various digital topics.
managerfragen.org is committed to open, fair, and direct dialog between members of the public and managers. Deutsche Telekom and managerfragen.org have developed a series of formats that are used at events to make people aware of web phenomena.
Gesicht Zeigen! (show your true colors) encourages people to stand up to xenophobia, racism, antisemitism, and violent far-right extremism. We have been supporting this organization for many years.
#TAKEPART is not simply a short-term Deutsche Telekom brand campaign. It’s our long-term commitment to the equal participation of all people in our digital society. According to the latest D21-Digital-Index study, some 13 million people in Germany are in digital no man’s land, which shows this commitment is still urgently required. These people feel overwhelmed and even left behind by the pace of digitalization. We will never stop until everyone can take part, because we firmly believe that business mandates and social responsibility are inextricably linked.
Are summers like the one we’ve just had normal?
Record heat waves and droughts, heavy rainstorms and flooding – is all that just regular capricious weather or are we looking at climate change as it happens? This is among the questions we asked climate researcher Professor Mojib Latif.
Professor Latif, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global land-based temperatures have risen to date by 1.53 degrees Celsius and we are now all living the consequences of that rise in the form of heat waves, flooding and ever more violent storms. How can a rise of just one or two degrees make such a big difference?
Even if the average global temperature on earth has only changed a couple of degrees, such a change can have an enormous effect on the climate. One example can make this very clear: if you use global average temperature as your measure, the difference in temperature between the last Ice Age about 20,000 years ago and today was no more than about 5 degrees.
The earth’s climate has always been in flux over the millennia. Is the current change we’re seeing in our climate due to natural causes or are we humans solely responsible for it? Can you say what percentage of climate change we’re responsible for?
The temperature as we have measured it over recent decades is rising much faster than at any other time over the last 2,000 years. Another difference as compared to past warming periods is that right now the whole surface of the earth is getting warmer. If one looks back to the past, the “Medieval Warm Period”, as well as the “Little Ice Age” that followed it, were phenomena that affected only particular regions of the earth. And scientists agree that the main cause of global warming since the middle of the 20th century has been human activity.
Looking at it realistically, do we have any chance of stopping climate change? And if the answer is yes, what do we need to do? What are the most powerful levers we have available to us?
In theory it’s quite within our power to stop climate change. What we need to do is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions very fast. By the middle of this century we have to get ourselves to a “net zero” situation: That means that all greenhouse emissions caused by humans need to be removed from the atmosphere through reduction measures. Achieving that would mean humans becoming climate neutral, and global temperatures would begin to stabilize. One way of removing CO2 from the air would be through reforestation. We need more of the earth’s surface under forest cover. Another approach would be to begin to regard the CO2 in the air as a raw material and to find uses for it in industry and in the energy economy.
Do you see any opportunities for climate protection arising out of the digital revolution?
Absolutely! The future belongs to renewable energy. That means no longer getting our energy mainly from large centralized power stations but from lots of smaller, local systems, all the way down to mini-wind turbines and rooftop solar systems. On top of that, we also need to connect the electricity, heating and transport sectors into a single network. To do that we need intelligent digital energy systems to ensure that we achieve the most efficient possible energy supply.
Many people feel completely helpless in the face of the catastrophe facing us and, feeling powerless to change anything, simply close their eyes to it and continue living their lives as before. Would it do any good for us to make radical changes to our lifestyles and to learn to live in a more climate-friendly way? Where do we need to make changes?
Nothing is impossible! A quick look at history will tell us that, after all, nobody had thought that German reunification could have happened as fast as it did. Germany has a responsibility to show that we need to think of climate protection and human welfare as a single goal. Climate protection is a shared general social challenge that every social group needs to face up to. We have to get away from the habit of simply talking about what we have to give up for the sake of climate protection. What we need to do instead is direct our vision to what we can gain from the change: in terms of quality of life, for example. If you leave your car behind and travel around the city by bike instead, then the environment isn’t going to be the only thing that benefits: your health will benefit too. And if you take public transport, that decision will help reduce your stress levels: no traffic gridlock, no long search for a parking space – and most of the time you’ll get to your destination faster.
And if we don’t succeed in halting the rise in temperatures, what does that mean for life on earth and for us humans – how is the earth going to look in 10, 50, 100 years from now?
That's hard to say. We humans are conducting a gigantic experiment on the earth at the moment. What’s quite clear is that it’s going to get warmer: we’re going to experience more frequent and more serious heat waves and rainstorm events. On top of that, the sea level is going to continue to rise, with incalculable consequences for coastal regions. Some regions of the Earth are going to end up uninhabitable. So, all in all, the prospects are not very positive.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg has been inspiring a lot of young people recently. Could this signal the start of a global change of heart?
I dearly hope that a global change of heart is gaining momentum. Without societal pressure, decision-makers in politics and industry will never be forced to change direction quickly enough. Her activism is certainly a positive contribution. We do know from history what sort of power can be unleashed when really large numbers of people take to the streets for a cause: Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power, for example, would most likely never have happened without the anti-nuclear movement.
We have all learned at school that trees breathe in CO2 and bind it into their cells. They reduce the CO2 content in the atmosphere and produce more oxygen – allowing us to breathe. But the world’s forests are disappearing. Hugely destructive fires are raging in Alaska, Indonesia, Colombia, Canada, Brazil and many other countries, some caused naturally, others the product of climate change – and many started deliberately. Such fires contribute doubly to climate change: on the one hand, they release CO2 directly by burning wood and, on the other, they reduce the capacity of our planet’s green lungs through the destruction of large areas of forest. That makes it doubly important that we commit to the survival of our forests.
Can planting new trees help in the effort to combat climate change? In a recent study, Swiss researchers have come to the conclusion that yes, it certainly does help! According to their calculations, if we create new forests on suitable land all over the world, such forests could store 205 billion metric tons of CO2 – two thirds of all emissions produced by humans – thus putting a correspondingly large brake on global warming. But we have to hurry up about it, because it takes decades for the trees to get big enough to store enough CO2. But it’s not just forests we can use to protect our climate, other green areas can contribute substantially to the efforts – especially in the city. Because less water evaporates from paved surfaces, making cities warmer. The conclusion we can take from this is that the greener the city can be made, the better it will be for the climate.
Planting trees at click-by-click
Anyone who uses the “Ecosia” online search engine removes one kilogram of CO2 from the air with every search, since the search machine uses its profits from searches to plant trees where they are most needed. Alexander Ziemer, a dual student doing the practical part of his studies in Business IT at Deutsche Telekom, has pushed for Ecosia to be made the standard search machine for the entire Group. Alexander, by the way, is a “Green Pioneer”: he and others play the role of ambassadors for sustainability at Deutsche Telekom. As of September 2019, around 150 employees are now taking part.
„Green alternatives must integrate easily into everyday life, and Ecosia lets me plant trees – without going near a spade.“
Recording from February 2019
We need to act
Global temperatures are rising even faster than we feared. The increase has already reached 1.53 degrees over the earth’s land surface – though luckily for us, the earth’s large ocean surfaces warm up more slowly. For that reason the current global rise in temperature is “only” 0.87 degrees. What this means is that we have not yet reached the point of no return, and can still save our planet from the worst consequences of global warming. But to do that we have to act – and act fast!
The internet – climate ally or climate enemy?
th place in world electricity consumption
According to calculations made by Greenpeace, if the internet were a country, it would be the sixth largest consumer of electricity on earth.
The digital revolution has the potential to become an important tool on our path to a more climate-friendly future. It can help save energy. On a small scale at home, by controlling our heating via an app in our smart home, for example, or on a very large scale, by using digital applications in industry to make manufacturing processes more efficient.
But the internet is also a gigantic consumer of electrical power. According to calculations made by Greenpeace, if the web were a country, it would be the sixth largest consumer of electricity on earth. That is why it is not enough to simply develop digital applications for climate protection – there is also an urgent need to make the network itself more climate-friendly.
Climate protection is our top priority
Over about the last two decades, climate protection has been steadily increasing in importance at Deutsche Telekom. We adopted our first environmental program in 1995, an initiative that was followed by measures to reduce our energy consumption and improve our carbon footprint. In 2008 we set ourselves a target for CO2 reduction: we committed to reduce our in-house CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020, using 2008 as our base year. But we are very aware that time is not on our side, and since have set our benchmark a lot higher. At the beginning of 2019, our CEO Tim Höttges set a new ambitious target: we aim to turn the Deutsche Telekom network into a “green network” by 2021 – 100 percent electricity from renewable sources.
Can the internet save the climate?
Read more in the sustainability-magazine “We Care” here.
Our network is becoming green
By 2021, we are set to have fully converted our entire Deutsche Telekom network, across the entire gamut from mobile telecommunications to the high-speed DSL network, to use electricity entirely from renewable sources. By then, browsing on the Deutsche Telekom network will no longer generate any CO2 emissions from our side of the equation.
100 percent green energy
By 2021 we will have converted our entire network to consume electricity only coming from renewable sources.
We’re making a big commitment
But that is not all we have taken on: by 2021 we intend to cover our entire energy consumption from renewable sources. This commitment applies not just to electricity, but also to such fuels as gas and oil, which we need, for example, to run our buildings and data centers. Our overriding goal is to reduce all of Deutsche Telekom's CO2 emissions by 90 percent by 2030 as compared to 2017. This also includes emissions produced through the use of gas and oil, for instance.
And that’s not all – in September 2019, we joined an international industry initiative which aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the mobile communications industry to “net zero” by 2050 at the latest. This makes the mobile communications sector one of the first in the world to set itself the goal of having a zero carbon footprint.
A 100 percent green network – how is that possible?
We intend to operate our entire network using 100 percent green electricity by 2021. That seems all very easy, but it presents serious challenges to a large international corporation like Deutsche Telekom – every country in which we operate provides different legal frameworks and options for purchasing green electricity. In the USA, for example, we have concluded long-term contracts with wind and solar producers. These contracts run over a time period of 12 to 15 years. That gives the power producers security of investment. Because of our contracts two wind farms have been constructed in the US - until 2021 one more wind farm and four solar farms will follow.
That is how we are making a significant contribution to the energy transition. We are also aiming to conclude such long-term electricity purchase agreements in other countries. We are currently drawing up a guide for the entire Deutsche Telekom Group, the basic purpose of which is to support our various national companies in choosing the ideal solution for their individual needs by providing information on the various options they have available for the purchase of green electricity.
80 percent of our CO2 emissions are not created directly by ourselves, but through the manufacture and usage of our products.
THE SUPPLIER WHISPERER
How Antonio Veloso fights for more ecological and sustainable business practices among our suppliers. Find out more here
Reducing our entire footprint
Did you know that more than 80 percent of Deutsche Telekom's CO2 footprint is not emitted by us at all? By far the largest share of CO2 emissions is generated elsewhere: in the manufacture of our products by our suppliers (i.e. in the “upstream value chain”) and by our customers when they use our products (in the “downstream value chain”). We have also set ourselves a target for achieving a reduction in such emissions: by 2030, we aim to reduce all emissions resulting from the manufacture and use of Deutsche Telekom products by 25 percent per customer (using 2017 as our base year). To achieve this goal, we are working together with the suppliers who manufacture all those smartphones, network equipment, etc., on our behalf. We work together to create schedules for achieving energy savings and reduced CO2 emissions in manufacturing processes. On top of this, we are working to ensure that the devices themselves become more efficient, so that our customers consume less energy when using their devices.
We have developed the “we care” label to allow customers going forward to see the products and solutions in our portfolio that contribute to climate protection. The “we care" label will be introduced progressively to identify products, services, projects, actions and initiatives that make a substantial contribution to climate protection, to resource conservation or to resolving social challenges. A brief description provided underneath the symbol will answer specific questions on a product’s benefits in terms of sustainability, including such topics as whether it contains recycled material, whether the packaging is biodegradable or whether the product provides benefits in terms of energy efficiency.
Focus on efficiency
The very best way of reducing CO2 emissions is by reducing energy consumption. That is why energy efficiency constitutes an important aspect of our climate protection strategy. We are updating all our networks and using energy-efficient technologies for lighting, monitoring and cooling systems at our data centers. One good example of our approach is provided by our data center at Biere near Magdeburg, which is not only one of the largest centers in Europe, but also one of the most efficient in the world. Its innovative cooling concept alone cuts its total energy requirements by about one third relative to comparable data centers. Our data center has been awarded the Gold LEED certification (LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for its innovative energy and environmental design.
servers can be accommodated at our data center in Biere. It is one of the most energy-efficient data centers in the world.
Scientifically tested and approved
Can companies like Deutsche Telekom make a really effective contribution to mitigating climate change by implementing strict climate targets? It was precisely this question that the Science Based Targets initiative set out to answer. Scientists in the body test whether the climate targets of companies correspond to the latest research – as well as whether they are really well designed to achieve the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement: to limit worldwide warming to below 2 degrees as compared against pre-industrial times. The Science Based Targets initiative has reviewed our climate targets and confirmed that Deutsche Telekom is one of the first three DAX-listed companies to support the Paris 2-degree target.
We make sure our progress is measurable
The actions we are taking on climate protection are aimed to help us achieve our goals. We measure whether we are getting there or not via two key indicators: by recording our energy consumption and our CO2 footprint. We then compare those numbers against the volume of data flowing through our networks. In this way, we establish a direct link between our climate protection actions and the usage of our networks. This allows us to identify where we need to make tweaks to ensure that we reach our targets.
You can find more detailed information on our two key indicators under Energy and CO2-emissions
I fell for it too
How we let ourselves be politically manipulated on the internet and how the web changes democracy - In the current focus topic "Democracy" we interview David Schraven, journalist and founder of the reporter team Correctiv.
Hand on heart, Mr. Schraven, have you yourself ever been taken in by fake news?
Sure I have. The aim of fake news is to undermine society. It normally plays with people’s expectations so effectively that it works. I, too, have been taken in – by a manipulated quote from a top politician. That makes it all the more important to me to learn from my experience. We need to check sources and their reliability. We tend to want to believe things that fit with our worldview, but that’s not how democracy works. We need to understand facts as a basis for forming an opinion.
Populists spread fake news, while trolls peddle hate speech. Filter bubbles narrow our perspective. People who spend a substantial amount of time online must assume they are subject to considerable manipulation. Is there any way to protect ourselves?
Hate speech can be reported – to the police if necessary – and trolls can be blocked. It’s important to take such action. The situation is trickier in cases of fake news, that is to say deliberate misinformation. These are normally very cleverly devised political campaigns intended to destroy our society from the inside out. We need to immunize our society if we are to counter them. By telling as many people as possible how the media operate. And by making people of all ages aware of the form fake news takes and how to spot it. We must be persistent and thorough, getting our message across online and also at schools, universities, and even retirement homes. I firmly believe that truth will ultimately prevail over lies.
You founded Correctiv to support people during their everyday media usage, to promote debate on important topics, and to encourage serious journalism. You also expose fake news. Can you briefly explain the approach taken by Correctiv’s journalists?
We adhere to very important principles. We check a news item’s sources, look for proof of facts, and also read studies and research on many different topics. We reveal our sources so that everyone can see the way we work – and also given that we know we, too, can make mistakes. Because we, too, are only human. And human error is a fact of life. If we work openly, people can spot our mistakes and correct us. That’s extremely important, because we admit our mistakes and correct ourselves when we do something wrong. These are all principles of the International Fact-Checking Network, to which we are fully committed.
Fake news is often snappy and sensational. Once you’ve read it, you don’t forget it. Only a small number of people look to see whether it has been verified by fact checkers. Does a fact check help anyone, though? Does the truth have any chance at all once fake news has been shared a thousand or even a million times?
In the case of Facebook, at least, we have the opportunity to contain fake news. If we check fake news posted on Facebook, a note to that effect is added to the associated link and/or photo, including retrospectively. If anyone then wants to share this news, they are first shown our verification report. It’s highly effective, significantly reducing the spread of that particular item of fake news. In the case of Google, our checks are normally displayed directly below the search result, with a reference to the fake news. This approach is important to us. We don’t want to delete anything, but people should at least be able to see and read our appraisal of the fake news so they can make up their own minds.
The Faktencheck website describes fake news as a danger to democracy. What do you mean by that?
When fake news is used to undermine our society, it turns people against one another. Instead of valuable, constructive debate, we get disputes and even violence in the streets. We’ve already seen this happen. We believe it’s important for people to be given reliable information. They can then overcome their differences and achieve something better together.
There are two sides to every story. Does that also apply to digital democracy? Does digitalization also have a positive impact on our democracy?
I firmly believe the positives outweigh the negatives. More people can help shape opinions. More people have access to education and reliable information. And more people can express themselves. I think society simply needs a little time to learn how to make the most of these possibilities. It took 400 years from the invention of printing for the German Empire to be abolished. That marked the first wave of the democratization of knowledge. An increasing number of people had access to education rather than just a chosen few. I hope the next step in this development will take less time to achieve. Ultimately, though, everything points in the same direction – more communication leads to more self-responsibility, more involvement, and more justice. Setbacks are only natural, but we’ll overcome them all. We just need to be patient.
Democracy goes online
Instead of gossiping over a drink at regular after-work gatherings, people now take to Facebook, Twitter, and the like, and these digital platforms are also shaping our opinions. On the web, however, we are often unaware who it is we are chatting with and whether we are being told bare-faced lies. All too often, the aim of these uninvited guests is to manipulate us, for example by turning opinion against specific groups such as refugees. If this manipulation succeeds in influencing political opinion, it represents a real problem for our democracy. The team of reporters at Correctiv follows up online rumors, exposes fake news, and publishes the results of its research on the fact-checking website Faktencheck. Correctiv also offers workshops covering topics such as online opinion shaping that are open to anyone. Deutsche Telekom has been supporting Correctiv since 2018.
Championing democracy and a strong Europe
Deutsche Telekom believes in the European vision of shared prosperity and social security. Europe is not simply an economic community, but above all a community for peace – an idea of tolerance and diversity, of civic cooperation. The European idea is also based on the concept that the best way to achieve peace is through networking rather than putting up barriers. We should do everything in our power to get on with our neighbors and partners the world over. The web plays a key role in this regard, enabling people to share opinions and discuss solutions 24/7.
Shaping the future
than simply ensuring data protection and data security. We give as many people as possible access to the web and to education. And we’re passionately committed to improving the population’s media literacy. These are key prerequisites for ensuring digitalization inspires democracy rather than restricting it. A sound ethical foundation is vital, though, which is why we are calling for and encouraging macrosocial debate on responsible ways of shaping digitalization. We are setting a good example with our guiding principles on the ethical use of artificial intelligence.
Driving and shaping the digitalization process, we promote democratic ground rules for the internet and help people to form their own views. That’s our way of defending and safeguarding democracy. We want everyone to be able to take full advantage of the opportunities of digitalization to build a better future. Our brand campaign #TAKEPART makes it clear that we take responsibility in everything we do.
Providing the know-how for digital democracy
Digital democracy means being able to shape and influence with the click of a mouse, but these new opportunities also raise new questions. For example, how exactly does an online petition work? How do I recognize fake news and where can I find reliable, verified information? What is a filter bubble and how do I escape it?
Deutsche Telekom’s “Media sure! But secure.” initiative combines a number of resources designed to promote online literacy and security.
Inclusive and equitable quality education
Our measures support the fourth goal of the United Nations Agenda 2030.
Our “#TAKEPART-STORIES” platform explains what digitalization does to us and how we can benefit from the opportunities it offers while also critically examining the risks involved. Topical issues relating to the vast expanses of the internet – from digital friendship and opinion making on the internet to the secrets of the darknet – are addressed in fun, fascinating learning modules that are easy to understand. The “Digital Democracy” learning module, for example, deals with digital phenomena from fake news to hate speech. It includes details on who to contact about hate speech on the web, and where to find information about factions and their agendas. People can keep clicking to independently explore the various topics in as much depth as they wish. Prepared workshops of differing lengths are available for groups of learners – not only in both English and German, but also in language that is easy to understand. They include suggestions for specific practical exercises to make joint learning a varied and entertaining experience.
Project ideas for children and young people
The Teachtoday initiative also addresses codetermination on the web and how to actively shape society. Teachers and parents will find good ideas for introducing children and young people to this topic and many others. One example is a project that teaches students how to “duel” respectfully in an online debate.
In addition to telling the story of an assassination that gave birth to democracy, the “My vote counts” issue of We Care also explains why Grandpa always reads two newspapers, why voting is the smartest form of protest, and what could happen if Europe collapses. It shows how everyone can effectively help shape politics on the web.
If a breakthrough in technology changes our lives, we need to agree on a new set of rules. The new traffic regulations that were required when cars became widespread over 100 years ago are just one example. We also need new rules for the internet. These cannot be dictated by individuals. They must be established jointly. We are keen to contribute to this process. In the “Digital Responsibility” section of our corporate website, we discuss the challenges and opportunities of the digital world with experts. In 2018, we joined forces with the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and five other companies as founding members of the Corporate Digital Responsibility initiative.
Digitalization as such is neither positive nor negative to start with, but neutral. It is up to us to shape it responsibly. The same applies to artificial intelligence. We were one of the first companies in the world to formulate self-binding guiding principles on the ethical use of artificial intelligence. And because we are aware that this can only be the first step, we are continuously refining these guidelines in consultation with experts and stakeholders.
The starting point: secure access for all
If everyone is to be able to actively shape democracy on an equal footing, they need internet access. For a number of years now, we have been investing huge sums in expanding the network for this very reason. We already operate the largest fiber-optic network in Europe, covering a length of 500,000 kilometers in Germany alone. In addition to the further expansion of this network, we are also investing in the widest possible LTE coverage. In 2018, 98 percent of the German population could use LTE – and we are aiming to increase this to 99 percent by 2020. We are also working hard on rolling out the new, super-fast 5G standard.
Technical access is not the only vital aspect when it comes to strengthening digital democracy. People also need to have confidence in the security of systems and the protection of sensitive data. No one can offer one hundred percent security, but we at Deutsche Telekom do everything we can to ensure our customers’ data is in safe hands with us. Our infrastructure and, consequently, our customers’ data are protected by state-of-the-art cyber defense measures, and we ensure high data protection standards based on clear rules throughout the company.
Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
Our network expansion measures support the ninth goal of the United Nations Agenda 2030.
A clear stance -
According to the latest D21-Digital-Index study, some 13 million people in Germany are in digital no man’s land. They feel overwhelmed and even left behind by the pace of digitalization. We want to bring everyone into the digital society if possible. Everyone should have access to the diverse opportunities offered by digitalization. No one should be excluded. We enable people to have a stake in the digital world via our products and services.
The best possible network is the basis for this, which is why we are tirelessly driving forward network expansion.
In March 2019, we initiated our #TAKEPART campaign to underline the importance of digital equality to Deutsche Telekom. The year-round special offers forming part of this campaign give everyone the chance to gain access to the digital world. “Life is for sharing” – but to experience how, you first have to take part. Further information (in German) is available at www.telekom.com/takepart.
News …… „And you want us/me to help you?“ – theme week „No hate speech“ …… News …… Once again honored with the "Corporate Health Award" …… News …… Climate „A List“: Recognition for climate protection ……
„And you want us/me to help you?“ – theme week „No hate speech“
From December 7 to 11, 2020, the "No hate speech" theme week took place on our Facebook and Twitter channels of Telekom helps. The Telekom helps team is the daily contact point for customers - even in difficult cases. With the slogan „And you want us/me to help you?“ we used real hate comments to show the open hostility our advisors are confronted with every day.
The impulse for the theme week "No hate speech" was our #TAKEPART campaign. By addressing the issues of racism, homophobia, sexism and hostility toward people with disabilities, we wanted to make many people aware of the hostility our employees have to deal with every day on social media. We reached over 500,000 people on social media during the week. The week concluded with a video in which we appealed to people not to become perpetrators and to take an active position against hate on the Internet.
In the run-up to the theme week, an interview was conducted with community manager Markus Lukowski, in which he addresses the worsening tone on the Internet in more concrete terms. You can find more information about the #TAKEPART campaign here.
Once again honored with the "Corporate Health Award"
On December 9, 2020, Germany's most socially sustainable employers were honored by EPD Research and the Handelsblatt Media Group. In the information and communications technology sector, we received the "Corporate Health Award" for the fourth time this year. We were able to convince the jury in particular with our comprehensive and targeted range of services as well as the innovative ideas of our Health & Safety Management.
The year 2020 was completely under the influence of the Corona pandemic and presented all companies in Germany with immense economic and personnel challenges. Preserving and promoting the health of employees was given enormously increased priority. The employers with the most exemplary concepts were honored with Germany's leading award in the field of occupational health management. The organizers of the award present it to those employers who have demonstrated above-average commitment to the health of their employees and pursue a forward-looking, sustainable HR strategy.
Further information on the topic of health can be found here.
Climate „A List“: Recognition for climate protection
The CDP (formerly “Carbon Disclosure Project”) is a non-profit organization that takes a close look at the climate protection targets and activities of companies worldwide. We have also passed the critical test in 2020 and, as a result, have made it onto the well-known organization’s Climate A list for the fifth time in a row.
This year more than 9,600 companies took part and 270 managed it onto the Climate A list. The list singles out companies that are transparent with regard to climate protection and are aware of their responsibility, adopt and monitor suitable measures, as well as assume a leading role with regard to this issue.
Our mission for climate protection is clear: reducing emissions, minimizing climate risks, and paving the way towards a low-carbon society. To support the climate target of the Paris Agreement - limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees - we have set ourselves ambitious goals. As an important step on this path, we have been sourcing exclusively green electricity in Germany since the beginning of 2020. From 2021, electricity purchases group-wide will be switched to renewable energies. We have also committed to becoming climate-neutral by 2050 at the latest. However, this target is not ambitious enough for us. In 2021 we will therefore examine how we can achieve climate neutrality more quickly.
PWC has honored Deutsche Telekom as the best DAX30 company with the Building Public Trust Award for particularly transparent and credible climate reporting.
Winning the trust of the public and investors is crucial to a company's success today. Since 2016, the auditing firm PWC has presented the Building Public Trust Award to companies that stand out for their particularly transparent and credible reporting. In 2020, independent experts examined the annual and sustainability reports of listed companies in German-speaking countries with regard to their climate reporting. Among other things, we were able to convince with our detailed and consistent reporting within the framework of the TCFD recommendations as well as a credible communication of the CO² targets for the implementation of a new climate strategy. The jury's assessment also included the internal management of climate-related issues via sector-specific KPIs (key performance indicators), as well as very good ratings in the area of sustainable investment.
Find more information on our climate commitment here. You can find more information about the award here.
New podcast episode: " Verp*** Dich“ – das perfide „Silencing ".
In the current episode of the podcast series "Culture for Breakfast" Dominik Hennes goes into conversation with Barbara Costanzo. In 30 minutes they talk about hate on the internet and its consequences for our social life.
Barbara Costanzo makes her way through the jungle of terminology and explains the different forms of hate on the internet: cyber bullying, hate speech, silencing and hate comments. The reasons for hate in the digital world can be very different. What impact this can have on society and what each individual can and should do against hate on the internet, you can hear in the new podcast episode " Verp*** Dich“ – das perfide „Silencing " ("Fu** off" - the perfidious "silencing", only available in German).
You can find the current podcast episode here. We provide further information on the topic #NOHATESPEECH here.
Digital Inclusion Benchmark - we are among the top 10
On 01 December 2020, the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) presented the first Corporate Digital Inclusion Benchmark. The WBA evaluated 100 of the world's most influential technology companies. With our comprehensive measures to strengthen digital inclusion, we were able to achieve 7th place out of 100.
More than ever, life is being defined by digitalization. This increases the relevance of digital inclusion and the requirement for companies to take their responsibility as global citizens seriously. The World Benchmark Alliance measures how technology companies are helping to drive an inclusive digital economy and society. Companies are evaluated in four areas: access to technology, advancing digital skills, trusted use, and ethical innovation. We made it into the top 10 in the measurement areas of access, use, and innovation. As one of the few companies to implement ethical guidelines for artificial intelligence, we scored particularly high in the area of innovation.
We are continuously committed to enabling people to access and productively use digital technologies - so that everyone can #TAKEPART. You can find more information here.
All good things come in six!
We've made it: For the sixth time in a row, we qualified for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World & Europe). Only the most sustainable companies in each sector are listed in the indices.
About the award
In the S&P SAM rating we were examined in the ESG dimensions - Environmental, Social & Governance. A combination of transparency and performance assessment is incorporated into the rating. This year we achieved a total of 87 points (out of 100) - an improvement compared to the previous year. In particular, we excelled in the Environmental (98 points) and Social (94 points) dimensions. With this value we are ranked 6th in the telecommunications industry.
We achieved the best possible rating of 100 points each and the status "Best in Class" in the criteria "Materiality", "Environmental Reporting", "Social Reporting", "Labour Practice Indicators", "Corporate Citizenship & Philantropy" and "Occupational Health and Safety".
Our efforts have been successful, and this encourages us! We are constantly striving to improve our commitment to sustainability.
A complete success: Magenta Moon 2020
We are pleased - 15.000 participants did #TAKEPART!
Magenta Moon took place between 17.10. and 01.11.2020 around the topic of digital education. With its varied program, Magenta Moon provided equal opportunities and digital education for everyone - regardless of age, gender and social background. In interactive online and on-site workshops in Berlin, social issues of the digital age were discussed - from digital fitness to hate speech.
About the award
Hate must not be part of our society, neither in real life nor on the internet! With our campaign #nohatespeech we are standing up for exactly that! We want to sensitize more and more people to digital civil courage and show possible solutions for dealing with hate on the internet. At Magenta Moon, 47 online sessions were offered on the topic of hate on the internet. More about the topic #nohatespeech can be found here.
You couldn't #TAKEPART at Magenta Moon or want to dive into the world of Magenta Moon again? No problem! Discover highlights, podcasts, articles and much more from Magenta Moon 2020.
"Heroes of the crisis": Telekom honored for special commitment
Telekom was awarded the "Heroes in Crisis" certificate by the F.A.Z. Institute for its exemplary commitment in the Corona pandemic. Our employees give their best every day so that everyone #can continue to be there even in times of isolation and contact restrictions. For this we were awarded in the category "Heroes in caring for people". Philip Schindera, Head of Corporate Communications, accepted the award on behalf of all Telekom employees at the "Responsible Leadership" conference in Frankfurt am Main on September 15, 2020.
About the award
The Corona pandemic has turned the world upside down. But every crisis also has its heroes, who show special commitment and extraordinary willingness to help society. All these people, institutions and companies need to be "thanked" - and that is exactly what the F.A.Z. Institute and the IWMF Institute for Management and Economic Research are doing with their "Heroes of the Crisis" campaign. A total of 1,000 "Heroes of the Crisis" were honored in the three categories "Care of the People", "Medical Care and Nursing" and "Non-profit Commitment". The official description of the campaign states: "Without the voluntary commitment, ingenuity and tireless efforts of many thousands of 'heroes', Germany would not have been able to cope so well with the Corona pandemic. The prize winners were determined by an AI-supported Internet analysis. Read more about the campaign and the selection methodology here (in German).
Transparency study confirms high transparency of our reporting!
Transparent reporting is an integral part of the responsible corporate governance at Deutsche Telekom AG. The quality of our CR report in the area of anti-corruption has now been confirmed by a study conducted by Transparency Germany: Of the 19 sustainability reports reviewed, our CR Report 2018 contains the most corruption-related information. Compared to other companies, Telekom also has the fewest gaps in the implementation of GRI standards in this area. However, Transparency Germany did not only analyze the GRI implementation by the companies, but also formulated clear demands for the further development of the GRI standards in order to improve the quality of reporting in the long term.
Transparency Germany regularly examines the implementation of the GRI standards in the reporting of large German companies. The focus here is on corruption and political influence. You can download the study here (only in German).
For civil courage!
With "Words must not become weapons", Deutsche Telekom steadfastly stands by everybody who has been harassed and excluded due to the misuse of digital technology. We are convinced that we need more civil courage online and want to encourage many others to get actively involved.
The internet enables us to stay in contact with one another with virtually no limitations. Some people abuse this, however, in order to systematically humiliate people or intimidate them with harsh criticism, suppressing their voice online. Hate speech, online uproar, and cyberbullying –many out there have experienced these at some point or another. Most people do not express any outrage and leave the field open to the aggressors. We, as Deutsche Telekom, are not only responsible for the quality of our products and services – we also consider ourselves obligated to promote and demand respectful behavior online. We are fighting for an internet without hate and won’t stop until everyone is able to #TAKEPART in the digital sphere without being afraid.
We support initiatives which systematically oppose digital exclusion and propaganda, such as #ichbinhier (#iamhere) and exclamo. We are fighting for increased civil courage in our day-to-day lives with more of our own initiatives:
With our #TAKEPART stories, we show why society and the internet need to resist hate as well as what each and every one of us can do.
On our Teachtoday platform, we have provided information and teaching materials on cyberbullying, online hate, and other topics which call for digital civil courage. Most recently a toolbox has been added with almost 100 different formats, from videos to workshops for children aged 9-12 and young people aged 13-16, which can be used by anyone – even without any prior experience.
April's "Mut im Netz" ("Online courage") edition of our children's magazine, "Scroller", offers tips on how to become an internet hero, conquer online troublemakers, and who has what strengths when retaliating against insults.
You can hear more on the topic in our podcast with, "Zivilcourage im Netz zeigen" ("Show civil courage online") [in German], with Barbara Costanzo.
New "Hotspot": CityTree at Deutsche Telekom`s headquarter
A CityTree was installed last week in front of the main entrance at Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 140. Behind the wooden cladding, special types of moss work as an air filter. The so-called BioTech filter binds environmental toxins such as fine dust and nitrogen oxides while producing oxygen at the same time.
The moss filters up to 150 kg of C02 per year. This means that a CityTree with four moss modules can purify the air we breathe for up to 7,000 people within one hour, i.e. approx. 3,500 cubic meters of air.
100 CityTrees could supply all of Berlin with fresh air!
Fans cool the ambient temperature down by 2.5 degrees Celsius, accompanied by a mild forest smell. The CityTree needs 10 times less power (approx. 0.12 kW) than air conditioning (approx. 1.7 kW). The cooling capacity is created automatically by the irritation of the moss.
The manufacturer is the startup Green City Solutions. Telekom is the exclusive partner for network technology and has the CityTree in its Smart City portfolio.
The tested performance of the CityTree is important for Gabriele Kotulla-Münster, Head of Field of Excellence Clean Environment, Smart City Unit at T-Systems: "The Green City Solutions team has researched the perfect moss mix for years. Renowned research partners such as the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research Leipzig (TROPOS) and the Institute for Air and Refrigeration Technology Dresden (ILK) support Green City Solutions in evaluating the effectiveness of CityTrees. This backing also convinced us."
The CityTree is currently still in test operation and will go into regular operation in 10 to 14 days.
Corona: social commitment
The current coronavirus situation is a major challenge - for each individual as well as for our society as a whole. With its solutions, Telekom ensures that people can stay together digitally, move closer together and continue to work together despite physical distance. The Group's commitment and social involvement has several facets, so here is
Our networks enable social interaction even in times of social distance. Therefore it is especially important: Our networks are secure. Our networks are stable. We ensure the operation of the infrastructure and thus the security of the so important communication for the citizens and also for emergency and rescue services, hospitals, police and authorities.
How do we help to enable social interaction despite distance?
For the nationwide neighborhood support hotline of the neben.an foundation, the programming of the routing of the nationwide calls was implemented within a few days and the costs for calls are covered. In this way, we are helping to make neighbourhood support fast and uncomplicated: Telekom programs Corona hotline for nebenan.de
Our partners TelefonSeelsorge and „Nummer gegen Kummer“ are currently of particular importance. Those seeking help can also find support for the feared "increase in domestic violence during the curfew due to the Corona virus" by calling the „number against sorrow“ with the parents', children's and young people's telephone as well as with the telephone counselling service.
How do we support schools, teachers, parents and children?
Since mid-March, we have been providing schools with cloud-based web conferencing services free of charge for 3 months.
Advice for parents and grandparents or pedagogical companions on the competent use of media (and also recommendations for child-friendly content and games) can be found here, for example:
Even though the current situation poses many challenges, the crisis also demonstrates our ability to act and our strength. Many of the measures have been developed quickly and without bureaucracy. This shows that the expansion of the Group strategy at the beginning of the year to include the aspect of "acting responsibly" has long been part of our self-image as a Group.
We are here for you so you can be there for each other.
We connect Germany.
The current coronavirus situation is challenging us all. Contrary to our nature, we must keep our distance from each other.
We at Deutsche Telekom are making sure that everyone can now stay together digitally and move closer together. Our networks are secure. Our networks are stable. With over 100,000 colleagues, we are making sure that it stays that way. That way, a very important part of our lives can continue and we stay in touch with those who are important to us.
Furthermore, we would like to support our customers with the following measures:
From now on, each of our mobile customers receives 10 GB of data volume per month as a gift until further notice, so you can be online when it matters most.
For at home:
From 14 March, the new streaming service Disney+ will be available as a gift for 6 months, so you can have a little distraction even in serious times.
For the home office:
From now on we provide companies with Office 365 and Cisco Webex Conferencing Services free of charge for 3 months to enable working in the home office without restrictions.
For schools and teachers:
From now on, we provide schools with cloud-based web conferencing services for 3 months free of charge, allowing teachers to communicate with their students.
Telekom supplies anonymized mass data from its mobile communications network.
Deutsche Telekom has provided the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) with anonymized mass data from its mobile communications network for research into the spread of the coronavirus.
Scientists can use the information to map movement streams. This data can be used by the RKI to make statistical predictions about the spread of Covid-19.
No conclusions can be drawn about the individual user or infected persons. Statements on whereabouts or movement traces of individual mobile phone users, i.e. the individual tracking of infected persons, are therefore excluded. The data is nationwide and can be broken down to federal states, districts and municipalities.
The data transfer procedure was developed jointly by Telekom and data protection authorities. It was approved by the Federal Data Protection Commissioner in 2015.
Telekom transferred five gigabytes of data to the RKI free of charge. A further data delivery will take place next week.
Climate Olympics: Become a Climate Hero
In our We Care magazine, we show you how it works.
Every German is responsible for emitting two and a half tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year due to heating. In the first level of our Climate Olympics, we provide playful tips for more efficient and more responsible heating and airing patterns. Reducing the heating temperature by 1° C already helps to save 6 % of energy.
In the second Climate Olympics, we deal with the bothersome task of looking for a parking spot. On average, people spend three-thirds of their lives looking for a place to park our car. This is not only a frustration to the individual, it is also harmful to the environment: looking for a parking spot accounts for 30% of inner-city traffic load.
Every one of us can contribute their share to protect the environment as all seemingly minor efforts contribute to the greater whole. Take part in the Climate Olympics and collect points.
“Unstoppable“: Telekom Meets for Annual Kick Off 2020
Where do we come from? Where are we headed? – and what responsibility do we have as a business?
The Deutsche Telekom AG sought to answer these questions in this year’s annual kick-off “TMTM”. The Deutsche Telekom’s executive management met with more than 1,000 managers from all over the world in the city of Bonn. Under the theme “Unstoppable: believe in your strength – be open to the new – get things done” the excecutive set priorities for 2020 and discussed several topics including innovation, sustainable management practices and future value creation. The Chief Excutive Officer (CEO) of car-manufacturer Daimler, Ola Källenius, also participated in the event as the guest speaker, sharing some of personal his views on key and emerging topics. The event was made available to all Deutsche Telekom employees via live stream and podcast.
While the TMTM addressed several key topics concerning Deutche Telekoms success and operations, it was apparent that corporate responsibility was one of the key priorities of the day. Whether in relation to climate change, social justice or digital participation, topics related to corporate responsibility have been essential action areas for the Telekom since the 1990’s. Amid current international developments such as global warming, or increasing populism endangering democratic states, it is no longer enough for sustainability to be a focal point – we need sustainable business models. It is for this reason that the Deutsche Telekom has adjusted its corporate strategy by adding “Act Responsibly” to its core purpose.
A reward for our efforts
The bars were set high, but our efforts were recognized: Deutsche Telekom has made the “Climate A-List” of the CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) for the fourth time in a row for its leading effort against climate change. CDP is an important source of information for investors who want to make sure their money is used to support the transformation to a climate-friendly economy.
Tim Höttges on the recognition: „As Deutsche Telekom we are strongly committed to support the Paris Agreement to keep global warming below the critical limit of 1.5 degrees. Therefore, we are proud to have been included in the CDP A-Rating again. Transparency in monitoring, managing and mitigating emissions world-wide is key to tackle the huge challenge mankind is facing today!” Besides Deutsche Telekom, only eight further companies from Germany made the A-List.
What does Deutsche Telekom do to protect the climate? Here you can read more about this.
In its investors' program, CDP, an independent organization (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) evaluates companies' commitment to protecting the climate and the environment every year: more than 8,000 companies took part in 2019; only 179 were selected for the Climate A list. This list singles out those companies that are transparent with regard to climate protection and are aware of their responsibility, adopt and monitor suitable measures, as well as assuming a leading role with regard to this issue.
Children have rights
Study shows Deutsche Telekom leads the way when it comes to protecting children’s rights
Children are the weakest members of our society and are therefore particularly at risk of being exploited and abused. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child came into force in 1989 with the aim of protecting them. This international undertaking is intended to ensure each and every child has the right to a happy, fair, and prosperous future – and also a say in decisions that affect his or her life. The obligation applies equally to governments, civil society, and business.
But are companies actually honoring their responsibility to protect children’s rights? The Stockholm-based Global Child Forum and the Boston Consulting Group looked into this to mark the Convention’s 30th anniversary. Deutsche Telekom was one of the companies assessed, and it achieved an impressive result in the “Telecommunications and Technology” category. It scored 9.4 out of 10, was categorized as a leader in children’s rights, and came second behind Ericsson (which scored 9.5).
A total of 692 companies from nine industries worldwide were scrutinized for the study entitled “The State of Children’s Rights and Business 2019: From Promise to Practice.” The companies’ official commitments were evaluated using 20 indicators relating to three different areas. Workplace investigated the working conditions for young staff, parents, and caregivers, and also the prevention of child labor. Marketplace assessed the way the market approaches children, focusing on aspects such as marketing and product safety. And Community & Environment looked into the education, health, and support infrastructure for children.