Multiple organisations censured for flouting Do-Not-Call rule

Investigations started in response to 1,500 valid complaints from the public on some 580 organisations since the DNC rules kicked in on Jan 2 this year.

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Read the statement from the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) here:

The Personal Data Protection Commission ("PDPC") has censured multiple organisations for breaching the Do Not Call ("DNC") Registry requirements under the Personal Data Protection Act ("PDPA").

Investigations have been taken in response to 1,500 valid complaints from the public on 580 organisations since the DNC provisions took effect on 2 Jan 2014 and the PDPC had commenced taking enforcement action. The organisations are from sectors such as private education, property, banking & finance, retail, insurance and telecommunications. Complaints relating to suspected unlicensed money-lending activities have also been referred to the Police.

At present, PDPC is investigating a recalcitrant organisation, with a view to prosecution, as it has continued to send multiple unsolicited telemarketing messages to numbers listed in the DNC Registry despite being notified by the PDPC.

PDPC has offered to compound the offences against at least two other organisations for between $500 and $1,000, while more than a hundred other organisations had been issued notices of warning in lieu of prosecution. Additional offers of composition and notices of warning will be issued over the next few weeks.

In considering the appropriate enforcement action to be taken in each case, the PDPC takes into account various factors including the seriousness of the breach, whether the sending of unsolicited telemarketing messages were isolated incidents, the number of complaints against the organisation and whether the organisation had been co-operative after being informed by the PDPC to stop sending such unsolicited telemarketing messages.

The PDPC is closely monitoring compliance with the DNC provisions and will not hesitate to take any necessary enforcement action it deems fit against organisations that do not comply with the PDPA.

"The PDPC will not hesitate to take enforcement action against errant organisations," said Mr Leong Keng Thai, Chairman, PDPC, "In addition, we will continue to reach out to organisations to ensure that they understand how to comply with the PDPA so that both organisations and consumers will be able to benefit from telemarketing best practices."

More organisations have been looking to comply with the DNC requirements. Since 2 Jan 2014, another 1,300 organisations have registered with the DNC Registry, bringing the total number of registered organisations to 1,800. These organisations have since performed checks on more than 55 million telephone numbers.

The PDPC will continue to conduct workshops and briefings to help organisations and their data protection officers develop personal data protection capabilities and build on their knowledge of the PDPA, including compliance with the DNC provisions. So far, about 10,000 people have attended these outreach events.

Sector-specific advisory guidelines will also be issued, where necessary, to provide clarity to organisations on how the PDPA would apply to sectors with unique sector- specific scenarios.

Individuals who wish to lodge a complaint to the PDPC, or organisations which would like to find out more about compliance with the PDPA should write to PDPC would also like to seek the public's cooperation in providing more information to assist into investigations when required. Separately, individuals are advised not to respond to messages on illegal activities such as unlicensed money-lending, and to report such cases to the Police.