We believe a civilised digital society is possible and we recognise we have an important role to play in helping to get there. For this reason, we focus our CSR efforts on three significant challenges: digital skills, digital safety and cyber security.
The internet is a fantastic tool for children, but we know parents want peace of mind that their children are using it safely. That’s why TalkTalk has led the industry in introducing free safety tools and support for parents. We don’t just want to connect families to the internet, we want to help them to unlock its potential safely.
In 2011 TalkTalk transformed the ability of parents to protect their children online when we became the first provider to launch a filtering system, called HomeSafe. The filter puts parents in control of what content is accessed by any device connected to the home wifi network. Parents can customise the filter to meet their needs, selecting categories of content to block or blacklisting individual websites. The settings can be edited at any point, meaning the filter can evolve as children mature and family needs change. Importantly, we made it free to every TalkTalk home because we don’t think families should have to pay for their safety.
In March 2012 we went a step further and started asking all new customers to decide whether they wanted to activate HomeSafe as part of the sign-up process when they joined TalkTalk. We think it’s for customers to decide what level of protection, if any, they apply, but asking them to make a choice prompts them to think about the issue and consider their family’s needs. Customers told us they liked that approach. 80% said it was a good thing, and nearly two thirds said they wouldn’t have activated controls if we hadn’t asked them about it. It’s a great example of how we can help customers maximise the benefits of being a TalkTalk home.
We’re proud that customers have embraced the technology. Take-up amongst new customers is proportionate to the number of homes with children. That means that each day, HomeSafe filters over 100,000 inappropriate webpages. It’s a vital tool for families and a crucial part of how we help customers to stay safe online.
At TalkTalk we’ve always believed that a civilised digital society is possible. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the benefits of using digital technology – and to do so safely and securely.
But there’s lots of work to be done. There are still over 12 million people in the UK who don’t have basic digital skills. Many are older, disabled or financially disadvantaged – precisely those who would benefit from being digitally connected to loved ones, information and useful products and services.
To tackle the problem we teamed up with Good Things Foundation who run the national network of 3,000 UK Online Centres where people can learn digital skills in their local community.
Like us, Good Things Foundation wants as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of having digital skills; their strategy is to focus on inspiring and supporting people and organisations like ours to share their digital skills with others.
Together we launched a new e-learning module on their Learn My Way platform to explain the importance of safety and security online. ‘Staying safe in your digital world’ launched in October’s Get Online Week and at 31 March 2017 it had been completed by 2,701 people. Hundreds of TalkTalk employees also continue to volunteer as digital champions at their local Online Centre, helping learners gain the vital digital skills needed in today’s world.
By teaming up with Good Things Foundation, we’re turning hundreds of TalkTalk staff into Digital Champions, able to support learners at UK Online Centres close to our offices.
We’re also working with Good Things Foundation to help those who can’t afford to get online at home, starting with an exclusive low cost broadband offer just for learners at the centres.
We’re just as aware of the risks as we are the benefits of the digital technology which is why in 2011 we pioneered Homesafe, the first free filtering service to put parents in control of the content their children see online as well as free scam and nuisance call blocking on our network.
Further to this, we also offer a similar service to business customers providing instant protection to all internet devices, called WorkSafe, as part of our Business broadband packages again at no extra cost.
And we're committed to doing more to keep our customers safe, which is why made our SuperSafe Boost free to all customers to provide protection from viruses and malware, as well as secure web browsing.
To build on this, we have now launched TalkSafe.This is a new, simpler, smarter and safer way of identifying you when you call us. By creating a voiceprint, a bit like a fingerprint for your voice, we can verify that it's you on the phone without having to ask any security questions – it's even able to spot the difference between identical twins.
And we are committed to doing more to help keep our customers stay secure. Since we joined forces with the other four major ISPs to form Internet Matters last year, we launched an educatation and awareness campaign called Beat the Scammers, designed to protect consumers from the growing threat of scams.
We've continued to support Get Safe Online, the UK’s leading awareness resource helping to protect people, finances, devices and businesses from fraud. Together we want help change the behaviour of digital citizens, starting with our customers, so they’re less likely to fall victim to a growing army of online scammers.
Last but not least, we're a member of the Internet Watch Foundation, which is a not-for-profit entity that works tirelessly to eliminate child sexual abuse