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Vodafone starts offering free SIM cards to charities for six months
by Paul Hill
Vodafone has announced that charities of any size can apply through Vodafone’s charities.connected programme to get free SIM cards complete with unlimited calls and texts plus 20GB of data per month for six months at no cost. The firm said that the pandemic has seen 20% of charities cancelling services because they didn’t have the required technical skills or technology needed to deliver them.
The SIM cards can be used to help individuals and families get online or they can be used to help charities improve their own digital capabilities. The SIM cards work on a wide range of devices including phones, tablets, laptops, MiFi, or dongles so charities can get creative about how they’re put to use to help their communities.
Commenting on digital exclusion in the country, Helen Lamprell, General Counsel and External Affairs Director at Vodafone UK, said:
The new initiative to get charities and their communities connected is just the latest effort being made by Vodafone to close the digital divide. Other initiatives it has include Buy One Give One, which lets you connect someone in digital poverty, and the Great British Tech Appeal which lets you donate your old devices to get the excluded online.
EE users can now freely top up and give to charity at the same time
by Paul Hill
EE has announced a partnership with WeAre8 that allows customers to watch a video and answer one to three short questions. Those who complete the tasks will receive up to 20p in their EE Up wallet (accessible through the My EE app) and a donation of 5% will automatically be made to Unicef.
According to the mobile carrier, the EE Up wallet balance - if there’s at least £1 in there - can be used to pay your mobile bill. It can also be used to donate money to charities that are trying to end food poverty and reverse climate change. WeAre8 is behind the technology that connects EE users to brands that reward them for their time.
Commenting on the partnership, Sharon Meadows Director of Propositions at EE said:
Once users join the new service, brand videos will be sent out via SMS, e-mail, or both, depending on the customers' preferences. If you’d like to receive more money from the programme you can choose to receive content at the highest frequency while those who don’t want to be bombarded by alerts can reduce the frequency. To find out more, go to the My EE app and visit the EE Up section.
UK charity sees surge in child abuse image reports
by Paul Hill
The UK’s Internet Watch Foundation, a charity which focuses on fighting child sexual abuse content online, has announced that it saw a record number of reports of suspected child sexual abuse material reported to its hotline. The increase in reports has partly been attributed to the coronavirus lockdown which meant more people were home and were able to report content they came across.
According to the IWF, September saw the highest number of reports it has ever seen. It processed 15,258 reports from the public in September 2020 compared to 10,514 in September 2019. While it's likely there's more illegal content online, the IWF also cautioned that it had received more false reports than it was used to receiving.
Commenting on the upswing in reports, Hotline Director Chris Hughes said:
The charity said that public reporting accuracy had fallen from 35% in January to 26% in September which ultimately means that it was dealing with thousands of reports which were not within IWF’s remit. Hughes also commented on the false reports, saying:
The IWF allows people to report ‘child sexual abuse content’ and ‘non-photographic child sexual abuse images’ according to its home page. Given the increase in false reports, the IWF requests that people ensure the content they’re reporting is something the charity can help with otherwise it will be wasting analysts' time.
O2 and Hubbub partner to help connect the vulnerable
by Paul Hill
O2 and the charity Hubbub have formed a partnership to help vulnerable citizens in the UK get online with a donated smartphone. They are aiming to donate 10,000 unused smartphones to the vulnerable in the worst-off areas of the country and supply them with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data per month for one year.
The partners will initially focus on the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark which are areas with high levels of inequality, poverty, exclusion and unemployment. A national rollout will follow to cover Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Swansea, and Glasgow. The full rollout will be completed by Spring 2021.
While O2 and Hubbub are focusing on those who are shielding, the elderly, refugees, domestic abuse survivors and those in low household incomes in this campaign, O2 did reveal in September that connectivity was vital for 20% of businesses up and down the country during the first lockdown. It hopes that the donated devices and mobile plans will help people connect to essential services, support them with education and employment, and stay in contact with friends and family.
Commenting on the initiative, Mark Evans, Chief Executive of O2, said:
If you have a currently unused but working smartphone that you would like to donate to help support this programme, head over to Hubbub’s phone gift page. If you do not have an old smartphone to give away, you can still help by donating money to Hubbub which will cover the cost of a Giffgaff SIM card with unlimited calls, texts, and 500MB of data.
By Jay Bonggolto
Google Assistant now lets you donate directly to nonprofit organizations
by Jay Bonggolto
Google today added a new feature to Assistant that allows you to make donations to various causes. The Center for Policing Equity is the first nonprofit organization to benefit from the new feature.
The group promotes police transparency, equity, and accountability through research. To donate to them, simply launch Google Assistant and say "Donate to racial justice". The digital assistant will then help you send money to the Center for Policing Equity in support of its advocacy.
Assistant will also remind you that all funds will proceed to your intended recipient, meaning that Google won't take a share from donations made through the service. Today's announcement coincides with the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which supported the civil and economic rights of Black Americans.
The donation feature is Google's latest effort to throw its weight behind the fight against racial inequality. In June, the search giant announced more than $175 million in "economic opportunity package" to support black business owners, startup founders, job seekers, and developers.