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Singapore: IMDA’s Efforts to Boost Cross-Border Resilience

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Singapore and Hong Kong, both prominent financial hubs in Asia with robust telecommunications networks, have strengthened their collaboration to bolster resilience through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore and the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) of Hong Kong, China.

Image credits: Infocomm Media Development Authority, Press release

The MoU, signed by Deputy Chief Executive and Director-General (Telecoms and Post) of IMDA, Ms Aileen Chia and Director-General of Communications of OFCA, Mr Chaucer Leung, underscores the necessity of strong cooperation among like-minded partners to address cross-border issues like scams. Given the similarities between the two jurisdictions and their history of collaboration across various fronts, OFCA of Hong Kong, China emerges as a key regulatory partner for IMDA in combating scams in the region.

The MoU outlines key areas of collaboration aimed at combating scams across telecom channels. These areas include mutual information exchanges on scam telephone calls and text messages, facilitating research and education related to scams, and developing a shared cross-jurisdictional approach to regulatory issues and consumer protection.

IMDA’s international collaborative approach to combat scams extends beyond Hong Kong, having signed similar MoUs with other jurisdictions such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

IMDA and the MCMC signed their agreement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year,  highlighting the significance of cross-border cooperation in addressing scams in the digital era. Key areas of collaboration include regulatory assistance, research, education, and the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

IMDA and the FCC agreed to bolster cross-border efforts against unsolicited and unlawful communications, including scams. This agreement builds on the strong partnership between Singapore and the United States in safeguarding the digital environment and prioritising consumer protection.

The agreement aims to enhance cooperation in regulatory enforcement activities and mutual information exchanges related to scams in both countries. It underscores the importance of international cooperation in combating online scams, which pose a significant threat to citizens and businesses worldwide.

IMDA and New Zealand’s DIA also agreed to enhance collaboration in combating scam and spam activities, strengthening international information exchanges, regulatory approaches and public education efforts to address the cross-border nature of scams and spam.

Australia and Singapore collaborate to combat unsolicited telemarketing, spam and scams. This agreement aims to enhance engagement, facilitate information sharing, and support investigations to ensure compliance with telecommunications laws in both countries.

Senior Minister of State Janil Puthucheary emphasised the pressing need to update Singapore’s cybersecurity laws to adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape. The proposed amendments aim to strengthen the existing Cybersecurity Act, reflecting a proactive approach to safeguarding national interests amid increasing cyber threats.

Given the evolution of technology and business practices since the Act’s enactment in 2018, Mr Puthucheary underscored the importance of revising regulatory frameworks to address current cybersecurity challenges effectively.

As OpenGov Asia reported, IMDA and the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) play a critical role in safeguarding the nation’s national security, digital economy, and digital way of life by continuously monitoring cyberspace for threats. Through the protection of critical information infrastructure and the implementation of risk analysis and mitigation measures, CSA ensures the uninterrupted delivery of essential services, thus highlighting the vital importance of Singapore’s cybersecurity capabilities.

IMDA recognises the need for a global and coordinated approach to address the growing threat of scams, emphasising collaboration with international regulators to enhance anti-scam measures and protect against fraudulent activities. Such concerted effort reflects the commitment of both Singapore and its partners to tackle scams effectively and protect their citizens from scammers operating across borders.


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