The DNC Registry will allow individuals to register their phone numbers to opt-out of receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls, SMS and fax messages from all organisations in Singapore. With a DNC Registry, organisations will be required by law to check the DNC Registry to ensure that they do not make telemarketing calls or send SMS or fax messages to the numbers registered.
The DNC Registry will most likely be administered by the Data Protection Commission (DPC) which will be the regulatory body empowered to oversee compliance with the proposed law. Individuals who have registered with the DNC Registry and continue to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls, SMS or fax messages may make a complaint to the DPC. The DNC Registry should be viewed in tandem with the penalty and enforcement regime of the proposed law which may provide for the imposition of financial penalties of up to SGD1 million for non-compliance. The concept of a DNC Registry is not unique to the data protection regime and other countries in the region such as India have already established a similar registry since 2007.
At present, consumers rely on industry self-regulation via voluntary codes of conducts such as the Code of Ethics published by the Contact Centre Associate of Singapore (Code). The Code is a list of guidelines to telemarketers in Singapore and includes provisions on the setting up and maintenance of organisation-specific “Do-Not-Call” lists. Consumers can request to opt-out of telemarketing calls by an organisation which has adopted the Code. However, as the Code is voluntary and lacks enforcement provisions, compliance with the Code is weak and individuals in Singapore continue to be inundated by unsolicited telemarketing calls, SMS and fax messages.
The DNC Registry may impose additional compliance costs on organisations engaging in telemarketing activities. Notwithstanding these restrictions, MICA hopes that the proposed law including the DNC Registry, will benefit telemarketers by allowing them to effectively target a genuine group of consumers interested in receiving information from the organisation.