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PDPC acts against firms for alleged breach of DNC Registry requirements

The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) said it has received 1,500 "valid complaints" from the public and is investigating 580 organisations for allegedly breaching the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry requirements.

SINGAPORE: The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) said it has received 1,500 "valid complaints" from the public and is investigating 580 organisations for allegedly breaching the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry requirements.

The DNC provisions took effect on January 2 and the commission said it had commenced taking enforcement action.

The organisations under probe are from sectors such as private education, property, banking and finance, retail, insurance and telecommunications.

Complaints relating to suspected unlicensed money-lending activities have also been referred to the police.

The commission said it is investigating a recalcitrant organisation, with a view to prosecution, after it allegedly flouted rules under the DNC Registry and continued to send unsolicited telemarketing messages to numbers listed in the registry despite being told not to do so.

The commission has also offered to compound the offences committed by at least two other organisations for between S$500 and S$1,000, while more than a hundred other organisations had been issued warnings in lieu of prosecution.

The commission said that it takes the DNC Registry very seriously, and recalcitrant offenders may be prosecuted in court. Fines could be as high as S$10,000.

In considering the appropriate enforcement action to be taken in each case, the commission said it takes into account various factors, including the seriousness of the breach and the number of complaints against the organisation.

"The PDPC will not hesitate to take enforcement action against errant organisations," said the commission's Chairman Leong Keng Thai.

"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."

Since January 2, 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 has been tracking complaints since the Do Not Call Registry was launched at the beginning of the year.

The vast majority of complaints (91 per cent) was regarding SMS. The rest were made up of voice calls and faxes. More than half the number of complaints received was regarding unsolicited contact from the private education and property sectors.

Other offending sectors included Banking and Finance, Retail and Insurance.

Mr Leong added: "We will continue our outreach programmes to organisations. These are things like workshops, meeting industry associations, to help them to understand what the various provisions under the Personal Data Protection Act are about."

The PDPC said anecdotal feedback from the public about the DNC registry has been positive.

More people are also signing up -- 550,000 people are on the registry today, compared with about 400,000 when it was launched on January 2.

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