KNOWLEDGE BASE Email Marketing in Singapore

 

Email Marketing in Singapore

 

What laws or regulations apply?

Electronic marketing in Singapore is primarily regulated by two sources of legislation, the Spam Control Act and the Personal Data Protection Act of 2012. Spam is defined as unsolicited commercial electronic messages sent in bulk to recipients who did not request to receive the message or did not give their prior and informed consent to be the recipient of the message.

 

Spam Control Act

 

To whom and what does the Act apply?

The Spam Control Act regulates the contents and title of unsolicited commercial electronic messages sent in Singapore. The Act applies to messages sent by email, text, and multi-media messaging to mobile telephone numbers. The Act applies when an electronic message has a link to Singapore. Under Section 7, an electronic message has a Singapore link when:

  1. the message originates in Singapore; or

  2. the sender of the message is:

    • an individual who is physically present in Singapore when the message is sent; or

    • an entity whose central management and control is in Singapore when the message is sent; or

  3. the computer, mobile telephone number, server or device that is used to access the message is located in Singapore; or

  4. the recipient is:

    • an individual who is physically present in Singapore when the message is accessed; or

    • an entity that carries on business or activities in Singapore when the message is accessed; or

  5. if the message cannot be delivered because the relevant electronic address has ceased to exist (assuming that the electronic address existed) it is reasonably likely that the message would have been accessed using a computer, mobile telephone, server or device located in Singapore.

 

What are the important terms to understand?

Unsolicited - Under Section 5, a message is unsolicited if the recipient did not 1) request to receive the message, or 2) consent to the receipt of the message.

Sending in bulk -  For the purposes of this Act, electronic messages shall be deemed to be sent in bulk if a person sends, causes to be sent or authorises the sending of—

  1. more than 100 electronic messages containing the same or similar subject-matter during a 24-hour period;

  2. more than 1,000 electronic messages containing the same or similar subject-matter during a 30-day period; or more than 10,000 electronic messages containing the same or similar subject-matter during a one-year period.

 

How do I comply with the Act?

Part III of the Act requires any person who sends, causes to be sent, or authorises the sending of unsolicited commercial electronic messages in bulk to comply with the following requirements listed in the Second Schedule:

 

          1.  Unsubscribe Facility

Every unsolicited electronic message must comply with an unsubscribe facility whereby:

  • sufficient contact information to enable the recipient to unsubscribe;

  • the contact information must be valid for at least 30 days and using the contact must not cost more than the standard rate;

  • the recipient’s contact information (email address) must be removed from the mailing list within 10 days of the unsubscribe request; and

  • any person who receives an unsubscribe request is prohibited from disclosing the recipient’s personal information without consent.

The address provided must be valid, legitimately obtained, and capable of receiving the unsubscribe request and a reasonable number of similar unsubscribe requests at all times for 30 days following the sending of the message.

This statement must be clear, conspicuous, and in English. Where the statement is written in 2 or more languages, English must be one of the languages used.

When the electronic message is received by the recipient through email, the message must include an email address to which the recipient can submit an unsubscribe request. When the electronic message is received by the recipient by text, the message must include a mobile telephone number which the recipient can use to unsubscribe. If the message is received by the recipient by multi-media messaging sent to a mobile telephone number, the message must include a mobile telephone number to which the recipient can unsubscribe by text or multi-media messaging at recipient’s option.

 

          2.  Labeling and Content Requirements

All unsolicited message must contain:

  • where there is a subject field, a title that is not false or misleading as to the content of the message;

  • the letters “<ADV>” with a space before the title in the subject field, or if there is no subject line, in the first words of the message, to clearly identify the message as an advertisement;

  • header information that is not false or misleading; and

  • an accurate and functional email address or telephone number at which the sender can readily be contacted.

 

What are the risks of noncompliance?

Recipients who suffer damage or loss as a result of sender’s contravention of the SCA have the right to commence civil proceedings for an injunction and damages. The recipient may be entitled to damages in the amount of the loss or damage or to statutory damages of S$25 for each message up to S$ 1 million.

 

Personal Data Protection Act of 2012

 

The Personal Data Protection Act of 2012 establishes data protection law to govern and regulate the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data. The PDPA also provides for the establishment of the Do Not Call Registry, which allows individuals to register Singaporean numbers to opt out of marketing phone call, text messages, and faxes. For more information on how the Personal Data Protection Act applies in the context of email marketing, please review the Data Protection Regulations section in the knowledge platform.

 

Spam Control Act

Personal Data Protection Act of 2012  

Personal Data Protection Commission   

Infocomm Development Association of Singapore: Spam Control Framework 

Direct Marketing Association of Singapore (DMAS): Commercial Electronic Messaging Compliance—Email Marketing Checklist  

Consumers Association of Singapore

Singapore Business Federation  

KNOWLEDGE BASE Email Marketing in Singapore