Singapore’s IMDA and Australia’s ACMA have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperative efforts between both countries against digital scams and spam.
Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive of IMDA, and the Chair of ACMA, Nerida O’ Loughlin, signed the MoU on July 18 2022 at a physical signing ceremony in Singapore.
The MoU covers joint cooperation between Singapore and Australia in crucial areas such as information sharing and assistance in investigations related to digital scams.
Both countries have also agreed to exchange knowledge on a mutual basis, and collaborate on technical and commercially viable solutions to deal with digital scams and fraud.
Coordinated Effort Against Digital Threats
Singapore and Australia designed the MoU to be in accordance with the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement.
The MoU also complements the Joint Declaration signed by the Prime Ministers of Australia and Singapore for a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Under the Joint Declaration, Singapore and Australia would deepen bilateral relations and enhance integration of their digital economies.
However, even as Singapore and Australia embark on stronger economic digitalisation initiatives, both countries must also deal with online threats.
Notably, online scams and spam have become an increasingly common type of cybercrime in Australia and Singapore. According to a report by Savvy, Australians lost over $300 million to digital scams in 2021. ForgeRock, an identity and access management software company, found that Singapore had witnessed a 43% increase in cybercrime between 2021 and 2022. The report highlighted SMS phishing scams as the largest contributor to cyber-attacks in Singapore.
As such, comprehensive digital cooperation in the economic sphere between both countries, would necessitate closer collaboration to tackle digital threats as well.
Timely Collaboration between Singapore and Australia
O’Loughlin expressed her confidence that the partnership would allow Australia to address growing cybercrime rates.
She added that he partnership is also timely as most Australians affected by unwanted calls, SMS and emails, noting that “many of our international colleagues are dealing with the same issues.”
“This agreement will see us building stronger ties with our Singaporean counterparts to crack down on unsolicited calls and messages, particularly when cross-border issues are involved.”
Lew affirmed the significance of the MoU signing, saying that “the burgeoning digital economy sees growing international cooperation between regulators. This MOU, developed in connection with the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement, is a major step to address global issues that do not respect geographical boundaries for e.g., harms perpetrated by scams.”
“The MOU forms the foundation for broadening collaboration, in the overall telecommunication and digital space, to ensure that it remains a trusted domain.”
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