The AT&T Issue Brief Library

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Protecting Privacy

Materiality Assessment Topic: Customer privacy | Global Reporting Initiative G4 Indicator: PR8

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, and our privacy commitments are fundamental to the way we do business every day. We don't sell personal information to anyone, for any purpose, and 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

Our privacy commitments are fundamental to the way we do business every day. These apply to everyone who has a relationship with us – including customers (wireless, Internet, digital TV and telephone) and website visitors:

  • We will protect your privacy and keep your personal information safe. We use encryption and other security safeguards to protect customer data.
  • We will not sell your personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period.
  • We will fully disclose our privacy policy in plain language, and make our policy easily accessible to you.
  • We will notify you of revisions to our privacy policy, in advance. No surprises.
  • You have choices about how AT&T uses your information for marketing purposes. Customers are in control.

Maintaining a Relevant, Easy-To-Understand Privacy Policy

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 web page, at www.att.com/privacy, features an easy-to-read summary of the policy and a video about the policy. The page is also optimized for use from mobile devices, and it is hyperlinked from every web page on the att.com domain.
  • In June 2013, we updated our privacy policy to make it easier to understand and to introduce new programs that use customer information. We notified our customers and conducted a 30-day comment period to solicit feedback from customers and other stakeholders before finalizing the changes.

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.

Managing Privacy within Our Business

The importance of protecting customer privacy is featured in our Code of Business Conduct, which all AT&T employees are required to review and acknowledge annually. In addition, privacy and information security training is 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 oversees AT&T’s privacy policy, maintaining and updating it as necessary and coordinating with AT&T’s various business units on privacy-related issues. Protecting customer privacy is the responsibility of every employee at AT&T, but the CPO is particularly charged with ensuring that our privacy policy accurately reflects our privacy commitments and is in line with industry standards. The CPO periodically updates senior leadership, including the CEO and the Public Policy and Corporate Reputation Committee of the Board of Directors, on privacy issues.

Additionally, we incorporate privacy into the development of new services and capabilities. For example, FamilyMap requires the account holder to register each mobile device telephone number that can be located on the account, and only mobile devices associated with the same account can be located. Notification is sent to each device that can be located at registration and a periodic reminder notice is sent on an ongoing basis to each device that can be located.

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 children’s 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 third parties to support online safety and privacy education for all ages:

  • We are working with iKeepSafe, in conjunction with the League of United Latin American Citizens and Dialogue on Diversity, on a program to enhance the Latino community’s digital literacy and understanding of the benefits of being connected, including digital citizenship, online safety and managing online reputation.
  • Our Mobile Safe Kids™ program promotes safe and responsible mobile phone use and fights to reduce mobile phone victimization of children.
  • We support community outreach to older adults by hosting technology training events to improve digital literacy and fund the OASIS Connections technology training program for older adults that includes safety and privacy content.
  • We support Stay-Safe-Online and The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), which are public/private partnerships dedicated to education and awareness initiatives that help keep sensitive information safe and secure online and encourage a culture of cyber security. We also worked with NCSA to host an online safety training session for more than 100 parents and students at the PUENTE Learning Center in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.
  • We support A Platform for Good, a project of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), which encourages good digital citizenship, responsible online behavior and using technology for positive change. We also support FOSI’s annual conference that convenes thought leaders to discuss the latest developments in online safety and privacy issues.
  • We supported a privacy education initiative sponsored by iKeepSafe and the American School Counselor Association to help middle and high school students build positive online reputations for their future. In addition, we supported a program by iKeepSafe and the Harvard Center on Media and Child Health to create privacy-related curricula for children aged 8-11.

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 more information, please visit www.att.com/privacy

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 United States 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. AT&T filed a brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and supported a proposed law known as the LEADS Act, advocating this view.

Updated on: Aug 2, 2016

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