Digital participation can open doors: to education, services or contact. But who can pass through these doors? How secure is the digital world? The Digital Inclusion Benchmark assesses what 150 of the world's most influential information and telecommunications companies are doing to ensure that people can safely take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitization. Deutsche Telekom is proud to have once again been rated as one of the top ten companies worldwide, and even one of the top three in Europe.
Top scores in the areas of "Use” and “Innovation" and above-average results in the categories "Access” and “Skills" reflect the Group's long-standing commitment to digital participation. As early as 2008, the Group made "Connect the Unconnected" one of the core action areas of its corporate responsibility strategy. The Group addresses the prerequisites for this at various levels: from accessibility and affordability to personal media competence, which is defined both in terms of competence in using and dealing confidently with the digital world and in terms of living together in the digital world according to democratic rules (Ability). The Digital Inclusion Index gives a particularly positive assessment of the systematic approach to cybersecurity, the approach to using artificial intelligence and emphasizes the large number of programs for acquiring "Ability".
Media literacy has a sociopolitical dimension
The topic of media competence increasingly is not only relevant in a private dimension, but also a sociopolitical one. After all, it is also about living together in the digital world, enabling everyone to enjoy the benefits without fear of being excluded or manipulated. Recognizing fake news or conspiracy theories, basic elements of constructive discourse, and dealing with hate and incitement even on unexpected platforms such as online games – these are all building blocks that help create a network where hate does not become the norm.
Activities of Deutsche Telekom
With a wide range of projects and initiatives, Telekom therefore supports people who are committed to socially relevant topics and constructive coexistence on the Internet. Exciting formats such as the "Digital Crime" podcast series are used to communicate the topic to a broader public in a vivid way. In addition, the Group developed its own initiatives for greater media literacy years ago and bundles them on the "Media, sure! But secure." website. Here, information and material are offered for all ages and target groups. The #TakePart stories deal with socially relevant topics of digitization in a practical way and translate them into an offering for multipliers, who in turn can approach their target groups and – without having to be experts themselves – use all the material for workshops. The award-winning "Teachtoday" initiative promotes the safe and competent use of the Internet by children and young people.
Enabling digital participation
Other examples of the broad field of digital participation include network expansion - especially in rural areas - and special products and services for people with physical disabilities.
The many opportunities presented by digitization can only be successfully exploited by society if there is also an understanding of the potential risks. While data privacy and data security to high standards have long been a tradition at Telekom, the Group also proactively addresses the social impact of innovations: This includes the issue of responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is being incorporated into more and more ICT products and services, often unnoticed. It offers opportunities, but also poses challenges. As early as 2018, the Group set itself guidelines for an ethical approach to AI. In 2021, a practical guide was added to help apply the guidelines to development processes.
The World Benchmarking Alliance
The World Benchmarking Alliance is an alliance of several global, regional, and local stakeholders committed to making visible the contribution of companies to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to stimulating potential for improvement through benchmarks. The Digital Inclusion Benchmark is publicly available free of charge and shared on an annual basis with governments, investors and civil society stakeholders worldwide. In 2021, 150 of the world's most influential ICT (information and communications) corporations were assessed, 50% more than the year before. For the ranking, 16 indicators in the superordinate categories “access”, “skills”, “use”, and “innovation” were analyzed.