Another dot in the blogosphere?

Do Not Call lip service?

Posted on: July 9, 2014

Lip Service by smkybear, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  smkybear 

The full implementation of Singapore’s equivalent of Do Not Call policies elsewhere, the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), took place just over a week ago.

The Act also covers do not SMS, do not email, and do not use personal information when it was given for one purpose but used for another. An example of the last point is leaving your business card for a raffle and ending up on marketing lists.

A week in, I am wondering how effective the PDPA is or if marketers here are even aware that PDPA exists. My spam email remains unabated, but at least the auto filters I create deal with some of them.

What angers me is how telcos might be complicit in breaking the rules.

A few months ago, I got my son a new mobile number after a telco advertised special numbers and a prepaid scheme for kids. Here are the precautions I took. Only three family members have my son’s number. My son does not share his number. I put the phone number in the Do Not Call list.

Despite these efforts, my son has received spam SMS inviting him to apply for condos and credit cards. Only the telco has his brand new number. Who else could share his number and stand to gain from it?

The argument is that I could unsubscribe from those notifications one by one. Why should I have to do this when I did not subscribe to such notifications in the first place?

Another argument is that this is what telcos do. This information is valuable, they provide a communication service, and that they are merely extending communication. I paid for communication among my family, not to be an unwilling recipient of advertisements. What the telco is doing is abuse of privilege.

The PDPA is supposed to give consumers like me some teeth with which to bite back. But it is teeth in the plural. More of us have to stand up and be counted otherwise we too are guilty of lip service.

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