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Singapore-Australia Collaboration to Combat Fraud, Spam

Image credits: imda.gov.sg

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation in the fight against scam and spam communications.

The burgeoning digital economy sees growing international cooperation between regulators. This MOU, developed in connection with the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement, is an important step to addressing global issues that do not respect geographical boundaries like 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.

– Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive, IMDA

The MoU was created in conjunction with 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, with the goal of deepening bilateral relations and cooperation and enhancing economic integration between the two countries.

The Memorandum of Understanding covers key areas of cooperation such as information sharing and assistance in investigations involving scam and spam calls and short message services. Parties have also agreed to mutual knowledge and expertise exchanges, as well as collaboration on technical and commercially viable solutions to such scam and spam communications.

Nerida O’ Loughlin, the Chairman of the ACMA, stated that she was glad to further deepen the good working partnership between the ACMA and the IMDA. She noted that practically every Australian is affected by unwanted phone calls, text messages, and emails, and they are aware that many of their international co-workers have the same problems. The agreement would investigate strengthening relations with Singaporean counterparts to crack down on unsolicited phone calls and text messages, especially when cross-border issues are involved.

Scam and unsolicited commercial electronic communications and phone calls are a worldwide issue, with scammers continuing to prey on innocent parties. Both Singapore and Australia recognise the need of having a worldwide and coordinated strategy to combat these dangers, as well as the need for many stakeholders to collaborate. This MOU is a component of IMDA’s bigger international strategy, in which governments and stakeholders may collaborate to better prevent fraudulent phone calls and text messages.

IMDA has implemented several upstream measures with the Telcos to limit scammers’ ability to reach potential victims:

  • In March 2022, the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR) was established to block SMSes that spoof the sender IDs of participants, which include government agencies and banks.
  • Scam calls, including robocalls and those impersonating local government agencies and emergency services, are blocked.
  • Inserting a “+” prefix for international incoming calls so that the public does not answer such calls if they are not expecting them.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan reaffirmed their commitment to extend and strengthen this relationship by issuing a joint statement on the Further Promotion of Cooperation in the Field of Information and Communication Technology.

The ministries agreed to strengthen cooperation in the realm of the digital economy, particularly 5G, Beyond 5G/6G, and Emerging Technologies. In addition, they reaffirmed their commitment to continue creating secure, resilient, and open 5G networks and 5G applications for the digital economy.

Furthermore, the ministries agreed to intensify collaboration on AI, especially AI governance, in view of AI’s significance in the Fourth and Next Industrial Revolutions. In addition, they discussed measures to strengthen their continuing cybersecurity collaboration and reaffirmed Singapore and Japan’s commitment to a robust partnership.

The ministries underlined their commitment to cooperating in multilateral frameworks addressing trustworthy AI and data-free flow, as well as other areas of mutual interest.

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