ACMA unveils Scam Technology Project to blitz cold callers

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ACMA unveils Scam Technology Project to blitz cold callers

Regulatory skunk works.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has set up a crack team to combat the proliferation of scam calls on telecommunication networks with practical, technical solutions.

The radical push, says ACMA chair Nerida O’Laughlin, is about far more than just eliminating a public nuisance, it's about actively negating serious social and financial threat to people in vulnerable circumstances like the elderly.

Forget the softly softly, this a directly interventionist approach with technical cudgels at the ready. 

“This project will investigate what can be done to disrupt scam call activity, including possible consumer or network-based solutions like call blocking and network traffic authentication protocols,” O’Loughlin said.

The project will be assisted by assisted by a reference group representing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Cyber Security Centre, as well as input from relevant telecommunications experts.

It follows ACMA’s consumer research report on unsolicited calls in Australia, which was commissioned to inform the organisation’s report to the minister on industry self-regulation of commercial messages, the Do Not Call register and ongoing compliance and enforcement activities.

Figures from the research estimate 40 percent of people are more concerned about telemarketing than five years ago, and 80 percent of people were confused about how or if their consent was obtained to receive telemarketing calls.

“The level of consumer concern about unwanted telemarketing supports the strong enforcement action the ACMA is taking,” O’Laughlin said.

“The ACMA remains concerned about how these sectors deal with consumers, particularly how they obtain consent. We will continue to keep a close eye and take further action where warranted.”

ACMA introduce significant new penalties for breaches of the telemarketing and spam rules earlier this year to beef up its new compliance campaign in the wake of its research.

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