25 September 2023

ACMA’s scam war goes technical

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has established a Scam Technology Project aimed at using technical solutions to attack the epidemic of scams currently infesting Australia’s telecommunications networks.

Chair of ACMA, Nerida O’Loughlin said scam calls were more than a nuisance.

She said they posed a real threat, particularly to those in vulnerable circumstances such as older people.

“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,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

She said the project would be assisted by a reference group containing representatives from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Cyber Security Centre. It would also tap into industry expertise and experience.

“The project responds to ACMA research, which found that more than half of Australian adults receive scam calls daily or weekly,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“Three quarters of Australian adults believe not enough is done to protect individuals from scam calls,” she said.

“ACMA’s new consumer research also found that two in five people are more concerned about telemarketing than five years ago, and four out of five people believe they didn’t have an existing relationship with the telemarketer who last called and were confused about how or if their consent was obtained to receive telemarketing calls.”

She said ACMA had recently imposed significant penalties for breaches of the telemarketing and spam rules as part of its targeted compliance campaign.

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

“ACMA remains concerned about how these sectors deal with consumers, particularly how they obtain consent,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

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