- At the launch of the Personal Data Protection Commission ("PDPC") on 15 May 2013, the Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, announced that the Do-Not-Call ("DNC") Registry will take effect from 2 January 2014, while the general data protection rules in the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 ("PDPA") will take effect from 2 July 2014.
- In addition, the PDPC has launched a public consultation to seek views on the proposed business operations rules of the DNC registry. Amongst other things, the consultation paper discusses the ways in which individuals and businesses can expect to interface with the DNC registry, as well as the applicable fees for organisations accessing the DNC registry.
- Interested persons are invited to submit their responses by 5pm on 5 June 2013. The public consultation documents may be accessed by clicking here.
- The final business operations rules are expected to be published on the PDPC website in the third quarter of 2013.
- A summary of the proposed business operations rules of the DNC registry is set out below.
- By way of background, the DNC registry is established under the PDPA to deal with the issue of unsolicited telemarketing messages. When the DNC registry comes into effect, individuals will be able to register their Singapore telephone numbers in order to opt out of receiving unsolicited telemarketing messages.
Individuals – Telephone Number Registration
For individuals, the consultation paper provides details on, amongst other things, the various methods which individuals can use to register with the DNC registry. There are three proposed methods for registration:
- calling a toll-free number connected to a fully automated Interactive Voice Response System;
- sending a text message to a designated number; and
- registering online through the DNC registry website.
- The consultation paper sets out further details of the proposed registration processes, including the steps that will be taken to verify the telephone numbers being registered
Organisations – Checking the DNC Registry
- For organisations, the consultation paper provides details on, amongst other things, the proposed procedures for checking whether a particular Singapore telephone number is registered in the DNC registry.
- Organisations will first need to apply for a main account through the DNC registry website. Each organisation can only apply for one main account using its Unique Entity Number ("UEN"). Each main account, which is essentially an administrator account, will be allowed to create up to 20 sub-accounts with separate user IDs and passwords to allow for distributed access to the DNC registry.
- Only organisations registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority ("ACRA") can apply for an account to access the DNC registry. Foreign organisations that are not registered with ACRA and do not operate in Singapore will not be able to access the DNC registry directly. Such a foreign organisation would either need to engage a Singapore registered organisation to perform checks on its behalf, or access the DNC registry through a sub-account created by a Singapore registered organisation.
There are two proposed methods for checking the DNC registry: (a) small number lookup and (b) bulk upload.
- Under small number lookup, an organisation can submit up to 10 telephone numbers at a time on the DNC website and the results will be immediately displayed.
- Under bulk upload, an organisation can check a longer list of numbers by submitting a list of telephone numbers using a template provided on the DNC website. The results will be available for retrieval within 24 hours.
- Further details on the proposed procedures for account management and checking the DNC registry are set out in the consultation paper.
Proposed Fees for Accessing the DNC Registry
- Individuals will be able to register and de-register their Singapore telephone numbers with the DNC registry free-of-charge.
- Organisations will need to pay a one-time fee of $30 for each main and sub-account that they create. No annual fee will be charged for main or sub-accounts.
- The charge for an organisation to check each valid telephone number is 1 credit, regardless of whether it is a duplicate number. Any invalid numbers submitted will be excluded from processing and will not be charged.
- Organisations can choose from two payment methods: (a) deduct from pre-paid credit balance, or (b) pay-per-use. The proposed rates would differ depending on the payment option selected:
Click here to view tables.
- In order to assist organisations, especially those that have a small volume of telemarketing calls to make in a year, the PDPC proposes to allocate 350 free credits a year to every main account.
- Payment can be made online via major credit cards including Visa and MasterCard, or Internet Direct Debit Services using Internet Banking accounts with DBS, UOB and OCBC.
Validity Period / Expiry of Results
- Organisations should note that DNC results will be valid for a period of 60 days for messages sent during the first 5 months of DNC operations. For checks during the 6th month of DNC operations, results will be valid until the end of the 7th month. DNC results are valid for 30 days after the 6th month of DNC operations onwards. As such, organisations must switch checking the DNC registry from a 60-day cycle to a 30-day cycle with effect from the start of the 7th month of DNC operations. After the validity period of each set of results has passed, organisations can no longer rely on the expired results. They must check the DNC registry again if they plan to conduct further telemarketing activities.
Inactive Accounts and Termination of Accounts
- Organisations that wish to terminate their account may submit a request to the DNC registry. In this case, any balance pre-paid credits will be refunded.
- For accounts that are inactive for a continuous period of 12 months, the DNC registry will attempt to contact the organisation to check if the account is still required. If no response is received after 3 months, the inactive account will be closed. In such event, any balance pre-paid credits will be handled as unclaimed monies.
Help for Organisations
- The PDPC has also announced several measures to assist organisations to comply with the PDPA.
- Amongst the measures being taken, the PDPC intends to organise regular personal data protection workshops for organisations and their data protection officers. The workshops will be open for registration from June 2013. Organisations can visit the PDPC website for more information and to register for the workshops.
- The PDPC also intends to work closely with SPRING Singapore to provide support and advice to small and medium enterprises ("SMEs") through the SME Centres. The PDPC also intends to incorporate data protection competencies into existing training frameworks such as the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications ("WSQ") system developed by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency ("WDA"). The PDPC has announced that it is working closely with the WDA to include data protection training courses under the Business Management WSQ framework and make training courses available by end 2013.
- Finally, the PDPC will endeavour to provide informal guidance to organisations that wish to seek clarification on how the PDPA applies to unique issues faced by them. Organisations may write in to the PDPC to seek informal guidance using the application form on the PDPC’s website. Organisations may wish to note that, where an organisation submits an informal guidance request to the PDPC after the relevant provisions of the PDPA come into force, the PDPC reserves the discretion to use the information submitted to commence an investigation into whether the organisation has complied with the PDPA. The PDPC also reserves the right to publish any informal guidance provided together with any information provided by the organisation, as general case studies upon redacting the name of the organisation and any confidential information that the organisation has separately annexed in the application form.
- We will continue to monitor developments in this area and provide further updates at appropriate junctures.
- Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any assistance on understanding the impact of the PDPA on your business.