The fight against the global scourge of spam, scams and unsolicited messages and calls has stepped up today, with the activation of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by regulatory authorities across the globe.
Fraudulent and malicious messages and calls are a global problem, with no respect for borders. The impact of unwanted messages and calls can be devastating, leading to damaging personal, economic and social consequences. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australians reportedly lost over $229 million to scams in 2015, with losses reported for investment scams almost doubling to over $24 million, and dating and romance scams resulting in losses of almost $23 million.
The MoU demonstrates the commitment among the signatories to share information and intelligence on both a local and international level to address unlawful spam related problems—such as online fraud and deception, phishing, and dissemination of viruses—as well as unsolicited calls and texts.
Each of the current 11 signatories is a regulatory member of the London Action Plan (LAP), whose participants work together to promote international cooperation and enforcement against this global issue. The MoU complements the work of the broader membership of the LAP, which includes regulators, law enforcement agencies and industry organisations that are active in countering spam, unsolicited calls and texts.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) is joined in signing the MoU by the following:
Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission and Office of the Privacy Commissioner in Canada
Korea Internet & Security Agency
Authority for Consumers and Markets in the Netherlands
Information Commissioner’s Office and Citizen Advice (consumer arm) in the United Kingdom
Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand
National Consumer Commission in South Africa
Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission in the United States.
Authorities in other countries have expressed a desire to commit to the MoU, which strengthen the power of the collaboration.
The activation of the MoU allows the ACMA to work closely with their partner authorities across the globe to tackle this issue. Not only can citizens be assured that their interests are being protected, but the MoU also sends a clear message to those responsible for fraudulent or malicious messages and calls that they are being watched.
The MoU regulatory signatories and other members of the LAP are also partnering locally and internationally with private sector and not-for-profit organisations who can assist in responding to the problems caused.
The ACMA is proud to be a signatory to the MoU and will continue to work in its own right and with partners across the world to help reduce unsolicited messages and calls.
Find out more
> More information on the London Action Plan website
> Find out about the ACMA’s activities in this space:
Australian Internet Security Initiative (AISI)
anti-spam activities and how to report spam
Do Not Call Register
> Read the ACCC’s information on how to protect yourself from scams.
> Check the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s Moneysmart site for information about investment scams.