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Increasing customer confidence thanks to transparency

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Users want to decide how their data are used. That is the result of a study (German only) commissioned by Deutsche Telekom on digital autonomy. The company has decided to take the results as an opportunity to increase transparency for customers. As a first step, a one-page summary has been made of its data privacy information.

Most users are skeptical about control of their personal data: 91 percent believe that it is being accessed unnoticed on the Internet. And 82 percent assume that most companies release data held on their customers to other companies. Those are the results of a representative survey (pdf, 625.2 KB) (German only) conducted for Deutsche Telekom by the Cologne Center for ethics, rights, economics, and social sciences of health (ceres). On the other hands: 91 percent of respondents want to know which of their personal data are accessible online and 88 percent want to be able to decide themselves how their data are used online.

From Deutsche Telekom's perspective the results show that companies are not doing enough to earn people's trust. "But digitization cannot be a success without sufficient trust", explained Thomas Kremer, Board member for Data Privacy, Legal Affairs and Compliance. The company has decided to use the results as an opportunity to further increase transparency for customers. To start with, its data privacy information has been made more transparent. A single-page summary ("One Pager") now sets out, in a straightforward and understandable way, what happens to your data. You can find it online at www.telekom.de/datenschutz-ganz-einfach (German only). It will also be provided with Entertain, fixed and mobile contracts. The approach: Customers must be able to understand what their data is being used for so they can make a conscious decision whether to accept that use or not. A simple technical solution must be developed for this purpose. Moreover, Deutsche Telekom supports the EU Commission's development of data privacy symbols as a clear guide for users. The well-known video surveillance symbol is being used as a model.

The advice website sicherdigital.de (German only) also provides tips on how users can protect their data on the Internet.

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