KNOWLEDGE BASE Mobile Marketing In Singapore

 

Mobile Marketing In Singapore

 

Telephone marketing, including phone calls and text messaging can be a very effective marketing tool because of the widespread use of mobile phones. However, because a mobile phone is such a personal device, telephone marketing is strictly regulated in many countries, including Singapore.

 

What laws and regulations apply?

 

Personal Data Protection Act

The Personal Data Protection Act of 2012 established the Do Not Call Registry. Consumers who do not want to receive telemarketing messages via phone call, text, or fax can register their number through the DNC Registry.

 

To whom and what does the Act apply?

The Provisions of the PDPA apply to persons, including individuals as well as companies, associations, and other bodies of persons, corporate or unincorporated. The Do Not Call registry contains obligations that apply to all persons sending specified messages to Singapore telephone numbers. The locations of the sender and recipient determine whether or not the Provisions apply to a given situation. Section 38 provides the situations in which the Provisions apply. Under Section 38, the Do Not Call Provisions apply when:

  1. the sender of the specified message is in Singapore when the message is sent; or

  2. the recipient of the specified message is in Singapore when the message is accessed.

The Provisions do not apply if both the sender and recipient are located outside SIngapore when the specific message is sent and accessed.

 

The Provisions do not apply when the recipient is travelling in another country and accesses a specified message sent by a sender in that country. However, the Provisions would apply if the sender was located in Singapore when that same message was sent.

 

 

The Provisions apply to the sending of messages, and more specifically, specified messages. Section 36(1) broadly defines a message to include: sound, text, visual, or other forms. In other words, the Provisions apply equally to all means by which a sender may send a specified message.

Examples Include:

  • voice calls

  • SMS

  • any data application that uses a Singapore telephone number:

    • ‘Whatsapp’

    • ‘iMessage’

    • ‘Viber’

Section 37 provides the definition of specified message. Under Section 37(1), a message is a specified message if the purpose of the message, or one of its purposes, is:

  1. to advertise, promote, or offer to supply or provide any of the following:

    1. goods or services;

    2. and or an interest in land; or

    3. a business or investment opportunity;

  2. to advertise or promote a supplier/provider (or a prospective supplier/buyer) of the items listed above; or

  3. any other prescribed purpose related to obtaining or providing information.

To determine whether a message falls within the meaning of specified message under the PDPA, content and presentation will be considered. Section 37(5) provides a list of purposes that are specifically excluded under the definition of specified message. Note: B2B marketing messages are not specified messages under the PDPA.

Examples

In most cases, marketing messages of a commercial nature will be considered a specified message under the PDPA.

Messages sent for purposes not listed in Section 37(1) will not be a specified message for purposes of the PDPA. Examples include: a message sent solely to promote an employment opportunity, to solicit donations for a charitable cause, or to promote a political cause.

 

How do I comply with the Do Not Call Registry?

The Do Not Call Provisions contain the following obligations:

  1. Duty to Check the Do Not Call Registry: Section 43 requires that a person check the Do Not Call Registry, set up by the Commission, to confirm that the number is not listed on the Do Not Call Registry before sending a specified message to a Singapore number, unless the person has been given clear and unambiguous consent in evidential form from the user or subscriber of the number.

  2. Duty to Identify Sender: Section 44 requires a person to include information identifying the sender and how the recipient can contact the sender. Section 45 prohibits persons making voice calls from concealing or withholding from the recipient, the sender’s calling line identity.

Prescribed Duration:

After August 1, 2014, a sender must have checked the Registry within 30 days before sending a specified message.

Example: If an organisation submits telephone numbers to check against the Registry and receives results on August 5, 2015, the information pertaining to those telephone number is good until September 4, 2015.

 


What are the risks of noncompliance?

Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission investigated 3,700 valid complaints of the Do Not Call Registry provisions within five months of it taking effect. The Do Not Call Registry provisions under Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act of 2012 went into effect on January 2, 2014. By May 2014, the Personal Data Protection Commission had already investigated valid complaints against 680 organizations. The Commission issued a press release on May 23, 2014 detailing its investigation efforts to date, including its identification of at least one agency, which the Commission intended to file charges against in State Courts on June 4, 2014. Under the PDPA, any person found guilty of sending telemarketing messages to Singapore telephone numbers without checking the DNC Registry will be liable for a fine of up to S$10,000 per message sent.

The Chairman of the Commission said “[t]he Personal Data Protection Commission is serious about compliance with the DNC requirements in the Personal Data Protection Act.” He also confirmed the Commission’s commitment to “monitor compliance with the requirements in the PDPA, including those relating to data protection, once the Act is fully in force on 2 July 2014.”

 

Personal Data Protection Act of 2012

Personal Data Protection Commission

Direct Marketing Association of Singapore (DMAS): Commercial Electronic Messaging Compliance—SMS/MMS Marketing Checklist

KNOWLEDGE BASE Mobile Marketing In Singapore