Digital manifesto presented in Berlin:Telefónica Deutschland calls for New Digital Deal
Telefónica makes a global commitment to a “new digital deal” with the goal of delivering responsible digitalisation that benefits everybody. With ethical principles to govern the application of artificial intelligence as well as nationwide support programs such as “Digital Mobility for Seniors”, Telefónica Deutschland is promoting practical steps. The telecommunications company presented the current and German edition of its Digital Manifesto to politicians and association representatives on 8 May 2019 in Berlin. In political, business and social spheres, there is huge demand for strategies to deal with the opportunities and risks that digitalisation presents. What is remarkable is the pace of this digital transformation, which is reaching into every aspect of our lives. Companies have a special responsibility with regard to its implementation.
Telefónica calls for responsible digitalisation
In its role as a global telecommunications company with approximately 356 million active mobile and fixed-line connections in 16 countries, Telefónica’s Digital Manifesto proposes comprehensive and cooperative efforts to strike a “new digital deal”. Christoph Steck, Director of Public Policy & Internet at Telefónica S.A., presented the version of the Digital Manifesto tailored to Germany as part of an event at the Telefónica Digital Lounge in Berlin on 8 May 2019. “Everyone should benefit from digitalisation. Therefore, we believe that social and economic policies must be renewed and our institutions and regulations modernised for the digital era so as to put people at the heart of digitalisation. We must define a new social contract that helps bring about more effective, more open collaboration between governments, business and civil society. In making this transformation, we must ensure that nobody is left behind. Only by working together will we achieve fair and sustainable digitalisation of our society,” emphasises Christoph Steck.
Afterwards, invitees from the fields of politics, foundations and associations, including Falko Mohr (Member of the Bundestag, SPD), Dr. Konstantin von Notz (Member of the Bundestag, The Green Party) as well as Valerie Mocker (Nesta) and Dr. Thomas Koenen (BDI), discussed how a framework for the new digital era can be created in Germany that places the focus firmly on people. A detailed report on the event is available on UdL Digital. “With the Digital Manifesto we have created an important basis for food for thought. It identifies the core problems and approaches. I would like to see intensive, contentious but above all constructive discussions in politics, business and society at large as to how we in Germany and Europe can harness the possibilities of digitalisation to benefit humankind,” says Valentina Daiber, Chief Legal Officer and Director of Corporate Affairs at Telefónica Deutschland. From the company’s perspective, a digital transformation that prioritises people will require cooperation particularly in the following core topics.
Fairness & non-discrimination
Digital services should be usable in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. For instance, we have defined in our ethical principles on artificial intelligence that the applications of AI technology must yield ethically proper results. We aim to ensure that it in no way affect people in a discriminatory way in relation to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or other personal circumstances.
No one must be left behind as a result of digitalisation. Digital transformation must be accompanied by social participation. Telefónica Deutschland is committed to ensuring that everybody gains access to digital possibilities and opportunities. Initiatives to assist this goal include nationwide support programs such as the o2 Gurus in the shops, Think Big for young people or Digital Mobility for Seniors, which shows seniors how to use tablets, the Internet and apps. We also actively encourage public debate on the social and ethical aspects of digitalisation. The Telefónica BASECAMP opened in 2011 has become a digital hotspot and a discussion centre in Berlin. The majority of events are open to all interested parties. Telefónica Deutschland also comments on digital policy issues in the UdL Digital blog.
Companies must act in accordance with values and make an appropriate contribution to society to enable sustainable digitalisation. For this reason, Telefónica Deutschland is a participant of the Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR) initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. As part of this initiative, the company wants to raise awareness of CDR and jointly develop concrete solutions for delivering sustaining digitalisation to shape the digital transformation for the good of humankind.
Transparency and choice
People should have access to their own data and all data generated by them. They should also have effective decision-making choices that allow them to benefit from the value of their data. Billions of items of data are generated by normal business processes at Telefónica each day. The company uses this data, for example, for the AI-based optimisation of our mobile network or even to calculate the movement flows to support sustainable traffic planning in cities. In this context, all personal data is anonymised with the help of a special TÜV-certified process. Despite this anonymisation, customers can also opt out of the use of their data. By taking this approach, Telefónica goes beyond the legal requirements in supporting the data sovereignty of its customers.
The use of artificial intelligence and algorithms should be based on ethical standards, and digital platforms must be held accountable accordingly. Telefónica is therefore committed to clear ethical principles governing the use of artificial intelligence that aim to support a positive influence of the technology on society.