SINGAPORE - From Dec 2, members of the public will be able to register their phone numbers with a national database, which will allow them to opt out of receiving unsolicited pitches from telemarketers.
This comes a full month before the Do-Not-Call (DNC) registry takes effect when it is launched on Jan 2 next year.
From Jan 2, businesses will have to check with the registry before doing any telemarketing using voice calls, SMSes or faxes. This will also apply to freelancers as well as real-estate and insurance agents.
The registry will be administered by the newly formed Personal Data Protection Commission, which announced the registration date and details at a media briefing yesterday.
However, businesses can still contact individuals who have given them their clear and unambiguous consent to do so, such as by checking off such clauses on lucky-draw forms.
This will take precedence over their DNC-registry listing.
Individuals will be able to put their Singapore phone numbers into the DNC registry via three methods - a website, SMS and phone call (see sidebar). Registration is free and will not expire.
They can also choose whether to refuse phone calls, or SMSes, or faxes, or a combination of these options.
The registry will also cover instant messaging services like WhatsApp and Viber.
Still, individuals who register with the DNC registry can expect unwanted sales pitches to cease completely only after 30 days.
This is because phone numbers or lists submitted by companies for checking with the registry will be valid for 30 days.
New phone numbers added to the registry may not be reflected until the next time a company updates its lists.
To help businesses adjust, the validity period of vetted phone numbers or lists during the initial six months of the DNC registry's launch will be 60 days.
Businesses will also be able to set up an account with the DNC registry from Dec 2.
They will be able to submit the phone numbers of their potential customers for checking against the database from Jan 2.
The DNC registry is established under the Personal Data Protection Act. Organisations which flout DNC provisions can be fined up to $10,000 for each offence.
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