July 21, 2022

Singapore, Australia ink agreement to tackle scams and spam calls

By brit

SINGAPORE – Australia’s and Singapore’s media authorities have inked an agreement to tackle the harmful – and global – impact of scams, with a focus on mutual assistance in investigations relating to scam and spam calls, and SMSes.

The agreement also aims to facilitate collaboration on technically and commercially viable solutions to scam and spam communications, as well as the mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed at a ceremony in Singapore on Monday (July 18) by Mr Lew Chuen Hong, chief executive of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and Ms Nerida O’Loughlin, chair of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

In a press release, the IMDA said the objective of the MOU was partly to deepen bilateral relations and cooperation, and partly to enhance the integration of the two countries’ economies.

It also builds on the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement, as well as the joint declaration by the prime ministers of Australia and Singapore on a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Mr Lew noted that the MOU is an important step to address global issues that do not respect geographical boundaries such as harms perpetrated by scams.

“The MOU forms the foundation for broadening collaboration, in the overall telecommunication and digital space, to ensure that it remains a trusted domain,” he said.

Ms O’Loughlin said that almost every Australian is impacted by unwanted calls, SMSes and e-mails.

“We know that many of our international colleagues are dealing with the same issues… This agreement will see us building stronger ties with our Singaporean counterparts to crack down on unsolicited calls and messages, particularly when cross-border issues are involved,” she added.

The IMDA has introduced a host of measures with telcos to foil scammers and spam calls, and disrupt their reach to potential victims.

In March, an anti-spoofing registry – the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry – was set up to block SMSes that spoof the sender IDs of government agencies and banks.

Another measure already in place is the blocking of scam calls, including robocalls and those spoofing the numbers of local government agencies and emergency services.

Additionally, unsolicited international incoming calls have a “+” sign prefix to warn people that these might be spoofed calls.