AT&T Issue Briefs

Our issue briefs provide additional details on topics identified as most important by our stakeholders. View all the issue briefs on the Reporting Library for a comprehensive overview or choose an issue in the drop-down menu.

 


Stakeholder Engagement Topics
Human rights, Responsible use & product safety


Stakeholder Engagement Topics
Human rights, Responsible use & product safety

 

 

Our Position

 

AT&T joins organizations around the globe in the belief that technology and communications companies must work to protect the privacy of young users’ personal data and preserve children’s rights to freedom of expression, freedom from online predators and freedom from exploitation. We must also develop policies and systems to address children’s rights violations when they occur.


 

 

Our Action

As stated in the AT&T Human Rights Policy, we’re committed to working with industry partners and stakeholders to help safeguard children from online predators.

In 2020, we established the AT&T Online Safety Committee – led by senior leaders in our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) organization – to provide oversight and guidance on the digital safety issues impacting our business, our customers and society. The committee meets regularly and is composed of subject matter experts from across our operating companies. In its first year, the Online Safety Committee launched an initiative to analyze companywide digital safety efforts and complete the UNICEF Mobile Operator Child Rights Self-Impact Assessment Tool. For more information on this work, please see our Responsible Use of Products and Services issue brief.

The AT&T Human Rights Committee, also led by leaders in our CSR organization and composed of executives from across the business, is responsible for implementing the AT&T Human Rights Policy throughout our operations and conducting related due diligence – including regularly mapping potential risks. Please see our Human Rights issue brief for more information on our work to address all human rights issues.

Our Senior Vice President for CSR, who is also our Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), is responsible for overseeing the AT&T Human Rights Policy, as well as our work to promote digital safety and well-being. The CSO reports several times a year to the Public Policy and Corporate Reputation Committee of the AT&T Board of Directors. Our CSO also regularly convenes the CSR Governance Council, comprising senior executives and officers from across the company who are responsible for the business areas most linked to AT&T’s most important environment, social and governance (ESG) issues.

WarnerMedia's advertising unit, Xandr, has a Child-Directed Inventory Policy that governs children’s safety online when buying and selling digital advertising. 1 1 In May 2021, we entered into an agreement to combine our WarnerMedia segment, subject to certain exceptions, with a subsidiary of Discovery, Inc. The transaction is subject to approval by Discovery shareholders and customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals. The policy complies with applicable legislation governing the collection and use of children’s data, including the United States’ Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Through its auditing capabilities, Xandr assigns an Intended Audience to each domain on its approved list of platform-audited inventory. If a site is identified as child-directed, it is flagged with a “children” tag and subject to the Child-Directed Inventory Policy. Sites with content inappropriate for users under the age of 18 are labeled with a “mature” tag. Xandr also places any sites with certain content, including pornography and explicit violence, on a platform-wide blocklist and will not serve ads on those sites.
Privacy

AT&T supports and complies with COPPA, as well as other laws governing collecting and handling children’s data.

On most sites, we do not knowingly collect personally identifying information from anyone under the age of 13. When we do, we collect it in accordance with a legally permitted purpose or exception, or after first obtaining permission from the child’s parent or legal guardian.

Unless we have consent from a parent or legal guardian, we will not knowingly contact a child under the age of 13 for targeted marketing purposes. For more details on how we address children’s privacy, see our AT&T, WarnerMedia and Xandr privacy policies.

Employee failure to comply with the company’s policies and guidelines may result in discipline, up to and including termination.

Please see our Privacy issue brief for information on privacy protection efforts and policies across all our operating companies.

Internal Risk Assessments

In 2020, AT&T completed a human rights impact assessment across our portfolio of products and services to better understand risks related to potential online child exploitation and child sexual abuse material. The risk assessment used the UNICEF Mobile Operator Child Rights Self-Impact Assessment Tool, as well as industry best practices. Findings were reported to AT&T’s Human Rights Committee and Online Safety Committee, which has governance over action items resulting from the assessment.

Empowering Consumers
AT&T is committed to helping protect our customers and to helping our customers protect themselves online. To empower consumers to avoid some of the safety pitfalls of today’s technology, we provide educational resources and services that help them personalize their internet experience and protect children and themselves from content they find inappropriate. The paid television services we offer, including AT&T TV, AT&T TV NOW, AT&T WATCHTV, U-verse, DIRECTV and HBO Max, which we launched in May 2020, also provide parental controls to help ensure viewers are watching programs appropriate for their age and maturity. 2 2 In February 2021, we agreed to contribute our North America video business – including DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse – to form a new company with TPG Capital. The transaction is pending customary closing conditions.

By creating resources for parents, caregivers and children, and by working with expert nonprofit organizations, we aim to raise awareness about safe navigation of online technology. For more information on our digital safety and well-being efforts, please see our May 2021 ESG Summary and Responsible Use of Products and Services issue brief.

Report Child Sexual Abuse Material

If you witness content you believe to be child sexual abuse material, or if you observe any illegal activity involving children while using any AT&T service, please report it as soon as possible by emailing safeguarding-children@att.com.

You also can make a report directly to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by visiting http://www.cybertipline.org or by calling 1-800-843-5678.

Engaging Stakeholders

We are committed to working with governments, industry, customers and civil society to promote human rights around the world in areas associated with our operations. We also believe these issues merit a societywide conversation, so we regularly engage with stakeholders to explain our point of view, share best practices and learn from our peers.

We engage with groups such as:

  • WePROTECT Global Alliance: AT&T is a member of the WePROTECT Global Alliance, an international movement dedicated to ending child sexual exploitation and abuse online to make the digital world safer for children.
  • United Nations Global Compact (UNGC): AT&T was the first U.S.-based telecommunications service provider to become a signatory of the UNGC and commit to its voluntary framework of principles related to human rights and environmental sustainability. We publish an annual Communication on Progress, detailing our managerial approach to UNGC focus areas.
  • Freedom Online Coalition: AT&T participates in the Advisory Network of the Freedom Online Coalition, a group of governments that have committed to working together to support internet freedom and protect fundamental human rights – free expression, free association, free assembly and privacy online – worldwide. The Advisory Network provides input to the Freedom Online Coalition’s Program of Action and joint statements on internet freedom issues.
  • BSR Human Rights Working Group (HRWG): AT&T is a member of BSR’s HRWG, which was created to develop a safe space for a cross-sector group of companies to openly share best practices, challenges, questions and experiences around implementing the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
  • Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI): Since 2012, AT&T has participated in GeSI’s Human Rights Working Group to pursue a practical means of implementing the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights across the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, which includes internet providers, telecoms and manufacturers. The working group also coordinates GeSI’s involvement in the European Commission’s project to develop human rights guidance for the ICT sector.
  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: AT&T is committed to cooperating with local, state and federal law enforcement in their efforts to protect children online and to pursue child predators and those engaged with online child sexual abuse material.