Australia and the UK sign MOU to combat unwanted calls, texts

In a new agreement, Australia and the United Kingdom will work more closely to fight unwanted calls, messages and phone fraud.

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The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) recently signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in London that will let them exchange intelligence, work together on relevant investigations and coordinate enforcement against international companies.

This follows research by the ACMA in 2021, which revealed that 98% of Australians had received some sort of unsolicited communication and that about eight out of ten were negatively affected.

The agreement, according to ACMA Chair Nerida O'Loughlin, strengthens the two organisations' existing solid working and strategic ties in the regulation of unsolicited communications.

O’Loughlin added: “Unwanted calls, texts, and scams are international problems and cross-border collaboration is an important part of the solution.

“This agreement will see us working with our UK counterparts to crack down on unlawful calls and messages, particularly when cross-border issues are involved.”

UK Information Commissioner John Edwards said: “I’m pleased the MoU reaffirms our collaborative efforts to protect people against the misuse of their personal data for unlawful electronic marketing practices. The ICO and the ACMA face common challenges in stopping companies from plaguing people’s lives with unlawful calls and text messages, and this MoU will help us remain effective in our mission.”

Meanwhile, over one in ten Australians, according to ACMA research, admitted engaging in online gambling at some point in the previous six months.

The government authority reports that the overall amount is up from 8% in 2020 to 11%. The data comes from the snapshot of "Internet Gambling in Australia," which was conducted in June 2021.

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