BACKGROUND AND OVERVIEW

On 25 November 2013, the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (Commencement) Notification 2013 (“DNC Commencement Notification”) and the Personal Data Protection (Do Not Call Registry) Regulations 2013 (“DNC Regulations”) were gazetted.

The DNC Commencement Notification provides for a phased implementation of the Do Not Call (“DNC”) provisions under the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (“PDPA”), in tandem with the DNC Regulations coming into operation, as follows.

2 January 2013

Various provisions relating to the DNC Registry provisions of the PDPA came into operation on 2 January 2013 pursuant to the DNC Commencement Notification.

These include provisions relating to:

  1. the keeping and maintenance of the No Fax Message Register, the No Text Message Register and the No Voice Call Register (each a “DNC Register”) by the Personal Data Protection Commission (“PDPC”);
  2. applications by subscribers to add or remove their Singapore telephone number from a DNC register;
  3. applications by any person to confirm whether any Singapore telephone number is listed in a DNC register; and
  4. the reporting of all terminated Singapore telephone numbers to the PDPC by telecommunication service providers.

2 December 2013

Pursuant to the DNC Commencement Notification, the provisions under the PDPA setting out the relevant definitions relating to the DNC provisions came into operation on 2 December 2013. Pursuant to the DNC Regulations, the provisions relating to the administration of the DNC Registers and registrations with the PDPC came into operation on the same day.

Accordingly, with effect from 2 December 2013, subscribers of Singapore telephone numbers can list their telephone numbers with any or all of the relevant DNC Registers on the DNC Registry website (http://www.dnc.gov.sg/index.html) (“specified website”).

In addition, persons intending to send specified messages may also apply to the PDPC via the specified website to set up an account to enable them to check whether the Singapore telephone numbers to which they are intending to send specified messages are listed on the relevant DNC Registers.

Under the DNC Regulations, there is a registration fee of S$30 for each account (or sub-account) that is created. Further, a processing fee of S$30 will be payable where the person is required to submit a document verifying the person’s identity as part of the registration process.

2 January 2014

Pursuant to the DNC Commencement Notification and the DNC Regulations, the relevant provisions under the PDPA and the DNC Regulations relating to the checking of the DNC Registers, and the reporting on terminated Singapore telephone numbers by registered telecommunications service providers will come into operation on 2 January 2014.

Accordingly, by 2 January 2014, the DNC regime is expected to be fully operational, and all persons intending to send specified messages to a Singapore telephone number will be required to make an application to check whether that telephone number is listed on the relevant DNC Register prior to sending the specified messages.

The First Schedule of the DNC Regulations prescribes the relevant application fees payable for checking the DNC Registers. The amount of application fees payable depends on the number of Singapore telephone numbers that are submitted in the application. There is no application fee in respect of the first 500 Singapore telephone numbers that are checked by a person, per year.

DNC REGULATIONS

Administration of DNC Registers

A subscriber to a Singapore telephone number can add to, remove from, or confirm the listing in any DNC Register of, his number by:

  1. making a voice call to the telephone number (“relevant telephone number”) notified on the specified website for making a subscriber registration application or subscriber confirmation application;
  2. sending an SMS message to the relevant telephone number; or
  3. submitting an online application at the specified website and confirming the application by making a voice call or sending an SMS to the relevant telephone number,

and in accordance with PDPC’s instructions on the specified website.

A subscriber making a subscriber registration application or a subscriber confirmation application must not conceal/withhold, or cause to be concealed/withheld, his calling line identity.

A subscriber registration application or a subscriber confirmation application in respect of a Singapore telephone number, shall be made by that subscriber himself, or any other individual authorised by the subscriber to make the application on his behalf. Where the subscriber is an organisation, the application must be made by any individual authorised by the organisation to make the application on its behalf.

The DNC Regulations state that a subscriber registration application or subscriber confirmation application in respect of a Singapore telephone number by any person using the relevant telecommunication service (ie the telecommunication service to which that number is allocated) will be treated as an application made by or under the authority of the subscriber of the relevant telecommunication service.

Where the PDPC is satisfied that a subscriber registration application is not made in accordance with the DNC Regulations, it may remove or reinstate that number from or to the DNC Register.

Where a termination of a Singapore telephone number is reported to the PDPC, the PDPC may remove that number from the DNC Register. The PDPC may also correct any entry in a DNC Register that is due to an error, default or omission by the PDPC.

Any removal, reinstatement or correction will take effect from the date on which such removal, reinstatement or correction is made, or such other date as may be determined by the PDPC, whichever is later.

Application to check DNC Registers

Persons (other than subscribers) who intend to make applications to check the DNC Registers are required to register with the PDPC via the electronic registration service at the specified website, and submit such information and documents as the PDPC may require, before doing so. However, these requirements do not apply to subscriber confirmation applications made by or on behalf of a subscriber.

If the electronic registration service is unavailable due to maintenance, malfunction or any other cause, the application will need to be made in such form and manner as may be required by the PDPC.

A person registered with the PDPC must notify the PDPC of any change or inaccuracy of his particulars and other information/document submitted. The PDPC is also entitled to verify the person’s identity as it may require.

Applications for registration are to be accompanied by a registration fee of S$30, and where verification of a person’s identity is required by the PDPC, an additional processing fee of S$30 will be charged.

The PDPC may suspend a person’s registration if he has not made any application to check a DNC Register during a continuous period of at least 12 months after the date of registration or date of last application (as the case may be). Applications for the lifting of such suspension may be made in such form and manner as the PDPC may require.

Further, the PDPC may cancel a person’s registration if the person:

  1. applies for cancellation in such form or manner as the PDPC may require;
  2. has submitted any incorrect or incomplete information or document when registering with the PDPC, or has not notified the PDPC of any change or inaccuracy in the person’s particulars or other information or document submitted in connection with the registration;
  3. has not submitted an application to check the DNC Registers for a continuous period of not less than three years after the date of the person’s registration or date of the person’s last application to check the DNC Register;
  4. being a person carrying on a business in Singapore, ceases to carry on that business and the registration of that business under the Business Registration Act is cancelled; or
  5. being a company incorporated under the Companies Act, or a limited liability partnership registered under the Limited Liability Partnerships Act is wound up under the Companies Act or the Limited Liability Partnerships Act, as the case may be.

Where the PDPC intends to suspend the registration of a person or cancel the registration of a person for the reasons set out in (a) or (c) above, the PDPC will notify the person in writing of its intention to do so, and provide an opportunity to make representations within such time as may be provided in the notice. If the PDPC decides to suspend or cancel the registration of the person for the reasons set out in (a) or (c) above, the PDPC will notify the person in writing of the date on which the suspension or cancellation is to take effect.

Registered persons who wish to make applications to check the DNC Registers must do so using the electronic application service at the specified website. Use of the electronic application service is subject to such verification of identity of the registered person as the PDPC may require.

Applications to check DNC Registers are to be accompanied by the application fees specified in the First Schedule of the DNC Regulations. In this regard, the First Schedule specifies that no fee is chargeable for the first 500 Singapore telephone numbers checked per year (per applicant). Application fees may also be payable on a pre- paid or pay-per-use basis.

Registration fees, processing fees and application fees are not refundable. However, the PDPC will refund (without interest) the unutilised portion of any pre-paid amount in respect of application fees if:

  1. no application to check the DNC Registers is submitted by a registered person during a continuous period of three years after the pre-paid amount is paid;
  2. the person’s registration is cancelled; or
  3. the person applies for a refund in such form or manner as the PDPC may require.

In addition, a person (the principal) may authorise another person (the agent) who is registered with the PDPC to make an application to check the DNC Register, and such an application by the agent will be deemed to be made by the principal. Further, agents who submit applications on behalf of their principal are required to submit information concerning the identity and particulars of the principal as the PDPC may require, and confirm that they are making the application on behalf of the principal, at the time of making such application.

Reporting on terminated Singapore telephone numbers

Under Section 42 of the PDPA, all telecommunications service providers are required to report all terminated Singapore telephone numbers to the PDPC.

In this regard, the DNC Regulations provide that telecommunications service providers are required to register and maintain their registration with the PDPC before submitting their first report to the PDPC.

Further, telecommunications service providers are required to notify the PDPC of any change or inaccuracy in particulars or any other information submitted to the PDPC in connection with its registration.

The PDPC may cancel the registration of a registered telecommunications provider if the telecommunications service provider:

  1. notifies the PDPC that it has ceased to be licensed under the Telecommunications Act to provide any telecommunication service to which Singapore telephone numbers are allocated;
  2. being a person carrying out a business as a telecommunication service provider in Singapore, ceases to carry on that business and the registration of that business under the Business Registration Act is cancelled; or
  3. being a company incorporated under the Companies Act, or a limited liability partnership registered under the Limited Liability Partnerships Act is wound up under the Companies Act or the Limited Liability Partnerships Act, as the case may be.

Registered telecommunications service providers submitting reports to the PDPC are required to submit reports in the form provided at the specified website, and submit reports via the electronic facility specified by the PDPC not later than the 15th day of each month, listing every Singapore telephone number terminated in the immediately preceding month.

The PDPC shall pay the registered telecommunications service provider the fees prescribed in the Third Schedule of the DNC Regulations based on the number of terminated Singapore telephone numbers submitted in a report.

General provisions

For the purposes of Section 43(1) of the PDPA (in relation to the duty to check the DNC Registers before the sending of specified messages), the prescribed duration within which a person is obliged to check the relevant DNC Register before sending a specified message to a Singapore telephone number is 60 days in a case of a specified message sent before 1 August 2014, and 30 days in any other case.

A person who receives a notice of withdrawal of consent from a subscriber or user of a Singapore telephone number shall cease and cause its agent to cease sending any specified message to the Singapore telephone number to which the notice relates after the expiry of 60 days (in the case of a notice received before 2 July 2014) and 30 days (in any other case) after the date on which the person received the notice.

The PDPC may, with the approval of the Minister, waive any fee or part thereof payable under the DNC Regulations. Such waiver may be notified in writing to the person concerned, and need not be published in the Gazette.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

The DNC Regulations provide for matters that may be necessary or expedient for carrying out the purposes and provisions of the PDPA relating to the DNC Registry, and should be read together with the relevant provisions of the PDPA relating to the DNC Registry.

REFERENCES

Please click on the following link to access the document.

Personal Data Protection (Do Not Call Registry) Regulations 2013