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December 30, 2013

Exemption Included in Singapore's Do Not Call Registry

By Melissa Warten, Contributing Writer


The telephone is a powerful communication device in our modern day and age, but with great power comes great responsibility, and oftentimes the telephone oversteps its bounds as a communicator and becomes just plain obnoxious. In no case is this so clear as telemarketing – when properly employed, telemarketing may be a strong business tool, but otherwise it simply acts as a nuisance. It seems like citizens of Singapore would tend to agree with the latter, as a Do Not Call (DNC) registry will be put into effect in the New Year.


Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) has introduced an exemption to its upcoming Do Not Call list. According to the exemption, existing customers can still receive text or fax messages about related services from businesses, even if his or her name is listed in the DNC registry. Businesses will not have to check the registry before sending text or fax messages to customers.

The registry itself is a key component of the Personal Data Protection Act in Singapore: it is a list of Singapore consumers who have opted out from spam messages and telemarketing calls. Before organizations can use an individual’s number for telemarketing purposes, they will be required to confirm that the phone number is not listed in the registry. Over 350,000 unique numbers are already listed, and even with the exemption in place, the PDPC has stated that all voice calls will still have to go by the registry in order to be placed.

The exemption rule separates itself from the registry in that it allows businesses to maintain relationships with customers whose names might nonetheless be on the DNC list. For instance, banks or credit card companies can continue to send their own cardholders telemarketing texts or faxes about related services, so long as they include opt-out instructions and stop within 30 days of any requests to do so. One-off transactions do not apply to the exemption rule, but only ongoing business-consumer dealings.

The new year in Singapore seems on track to be much less of a nuisance with this introduction – and the DNC registry will hopefully keep the telephone within the bounds of its responsibilities as a communicator.




Edited by Cassandra Tucker


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