The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced today that it has reached an agreement with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to combat together unsolicited calls and texts, as well as phone scams.
Tackle Unsolicited Communication
The strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two government agencies in London this week will see them work together by sharing intelligence, assisting each other in respective investigations and coordinating their enforcement actions against entities operating out of third countries.
Commenting on the MoU, ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin, outlined the magnitude of the international problem created by “unwanted calls, texts and scams” and the need for cross-border intergovernmental collaboration as “an important part of the solution” if any sustainable results are to be achieved.
“This agreement will see us working with our UK counterparts to crack down on unlawful calls and messages, particularly when cross-border issues are involved,” O’Loughlin said.
The newly-reached accord between the ACMA and ICO will further strengthen their already strong working relationship and support both agencies’ continued efforts in regulating all types of unsolicited communications thousands of people in both countries receive on a daily basis.
UK Information Commissioner John Edwards also commented on the agreement, pleased to see the MoU reaffirm the “collaborative efforts to protect people against the misuse of their personal data for unlawful electronic marketing practices.”
“The ICO and the ACMA face common challenges in stopping companies from plaguing people’s lives with unlawful calls and text messages, and this MoU will help us remain effective in our mission,” Edwards added.
Gambling Operators at the Crosshairs
In recent enforcement action, the ACMA fined BetDeluxe with an AU$50,000 ($33,750) for failures to comply with the spam rules. The breaches were detected between December 2021 and February 2022 – a period in which BetDeluxe had sent more than 104,000 SMS promotional materials with no integrated option for the receiver to unsubscribe.
Recent research conducted by the Australian communications watchdog found that 98% of Australians had received some form of unsolicited communication in 2021, and around 80% of them had experienced negative effects from that communication.
The MoU signed with the ICO is the second ACMA memorandum announced within the space of two days that would directly affect the gambling industry after the advertising regulator signed a MoU with the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (DITT).
Aimed at establishing greater cooperation in gambling regulation in Australia, the MoU will facilitate the collaboration between the ACMA and DITT in matters of compliance monitoring, enforcement and education for online gambling.