The AT&T Issue Brief Library

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Protecting Privacy

Materiality Assessment Topic: Customer privacy| Global Reporting Initiative G4 Indicators: PR8, Customer privacy DMA

Issue Summary

Privacy is a critical and sensitive issue. In an increasingly sophisticated data environment, businesses can use customer data to offer better, more relevant products and services. This should be done in a way that respects a customer’s desired level of privacy.

Our Position

We take customer privacy very seriously. Our customers have choices about how we use their information. We are also committed to transparency in communicating our privacy policy to our customers in plain language.


Our Action

AT&T maintains a privacy policy that helps our customers understand how we collect information, how we use it and how we protect it.

Our privacy policy webpage, at www.att.com/privacy, features an easy-to-read summary of the policy, as well as a video. The page is also optimized for use from mobile devices, and it is hyperlinked from every webpage on the att.com domain.

Customers can send us questions or feedback on our Privacy Policy at any time, either by visiting www.att.com/privacy or emailing privacyfeedback@att.com.

Maintaining Privacy within Our Business

AT&T is committed to protecting its customers’ privacy and keeping customers’ personal information safe. Our company has a robust data protection program and requires the protection of customer privacy within our policies, which include the AT&T Privacy Policy and the Code of Business Conduct. All AT&T employees are responsible for reviewing the Code annually and are subject to its provisions. In addition, privacy and information security training are provided on an annual basis. AT&T also makes privacy and security information available to employees through various means, including internal websites and company communications. Privacy reminders are provided on an as-needed basis, for example, in team meetings to groups handling customer information. Throughout the year, employees are provided reminders on security issues via the Chief Security Office (CSO) Awareness Program, an enterprise-wide information security initiative designed to enhance awareness and educate all employees about the security and business best practices for protecting AT&T’s information assets and data.

The Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) leads a dedicated team that manages AT&T’s global privacy program, its privacy use cases, and privacy policies. Protecting customer privacy is the responsibility of every employee at AT&T, but the CPO is particularly charged with enabling business opportunities and ensuring that our privacy policies accurately reflect our privacy commitments and are in-line with industry standards. The CPO regularly updates senior leadership on privacy issues. Additionally, we incorporate privacy into the development of new services and capabilities, and our advanced privacy protections in many cases have been reviewed by AT&T Labs and/or by external technical experts from top universities on our Data Advisory Board.

Consumer Privacy Education and Outreach Initiatives

AT&T supports the continued need for consumer education and awareness, which is a hallmark of our privacy program. Our Smart Controls website provides comprehensive access to information about AT&T safety and control tools, expert resources and tips designed to help customers manage their technology choices and address safety concerns about childrens’ use of our products and services. Specific Smart Controls tools include free anti-virus software tools for computer testing and premium ConnecTech services that are available for an additional fee.

We collaborate with many national and local organizations to support online safety and privacy education for all ages. Most recently, we worked with more than 10 organizations with expertise in online safety, disability issues, LGBTQ issues and senior technology education to create digital literacy information and materials contained on our Digital You® site.

Digital You® is a resource that provides parents, youth, digital newcomers, people with disabilities and community leaders with information on the devices they use and how to maintain privacy, safety and security in an increasingly connected world. The website addresses topics such as preventing cyberbullying, managing your online presence and parenting in the digital age.

AT&T also supported the launch of Common Sense Media’s Digital Compass app, a free animated gaming platform in English and Spanish targeting middle schoolers, designed to teach valuable digital citizenship skills.

Through the “Empower Hispanic America with Technology” program, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has established the nation’s largest Latino network of community technology centers with 55 locations across the country. In 2015 and 2016, AT&T worked with LULAC to revamp and upgrade 16 LULAC technology centers in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, New Mexico, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, California, Illinois and Missouri to enhance existing locations that serve Hispanic communities by providing high-speed internet access and up-to-date computer and networking equipment.

The AT&T-provided upgrades to these LULAC technology centers include computer equipment, office applications software and technology curriculum in addition to ongoing tech support. Visitors to these centers will have access to the types of technology and equipment they need to help complete school work, prepare for college or get the skills they need for a new job.

Please visit http://digitalyou.att.com/ to find these resources and more.

Trainings

AT&T has a long history of working with local and national organizations to train people to get the most out of technology. As with the Digital You® website, the trainings cover topics ranging from technology basics to how to combat cyberbullying, and are designed for people of all ages. In 2016, the Digital You® campaign reached more than 5,000 people with 170+ events in 26 states and the District of Columbia. This expands on the tens of thousands of consumers who have participated in AT&T-supported trainings over the past decade.

AT&T is also working to expand the reach of our trainings by working with youth organizations such as Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). AT&T teams in Alabama, Tennessee and other states around the country have trained FFA and FCCLA students to organize and run their own trainings. Through these programs we are providing students with new leadership opportunities and bringing trainings to new and different audiences.

Please see our Promoting Safety issue brief for more information on the programs we offer.

Engaging with Stakeholders on Privacy

We believe that open discussion across the industry – along with privacy advocacy groups and various government organizations and regulatory agencies – is the best way to reach agreement on consumer protections. We participate in a wide range of industry and multi-stakeholder discussions on various privacy issues.

For example, AT&T knows that robocalls plague our industry and our customers, and we believe that telecommunications providers must play a vital role in attacking the robocalling problem. AT&T has called for the development of comprehensive and industry-wide solutions to address these unwanted, illegal and often fraudulent calls. In 2016, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson joined the FCC’s Robocalling Strike Force as Chair. The mission of the Robocalling Strike Force is to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions to abate the proliferation of robocalls and to make recommendations to the FCC on the role government can play in this battle. AT&T joined to bring the industry together to protect consumers from these unwanted communications.

Privacy Advocacy

The privacy of AT&T’s customers around the world is of paramount importance to us. AT&T joins other technology companies and public interest groups in advocating for limits on the government’s ability to obtain customer communications stored abroad. AT&T believes that law enforcement should respect the laws of other countries and work through established treaties, and that U.S. law enforcement must demonstrate a clear relationship between the customer or content and the U.S. before obtaining content stored abroad. Our country’s respect for international data protection standards will help ensure that the privacy interests of Americans are also respected by other countries. Advocating this view, AT&T filed a briefi in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and supported a proposed law known as the International Communications Privacy Act (ICPA).



i Brief of Amici Curiae AT&T Corp., et al., Microsoft Corp. v. U.S.A., Civil Action No. 14-2985-CV, 2014 WL 7213180 (2d Cir. Dec. 15, 2014)

Updated on: Aug 17, 2017

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