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ACMA to target misinformation and SMS scams in 2022-23


The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced its compliance priorities for 2022–23, with misinformation and scams two of the seven priority areas.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the identified compliance priorities target issues that have potential to cause considerable financial and social harm to the Australian community.

“SMS scams have risen sharply over the last year, and we will soon be registering new rules for telcos requiring them to track and block those messages,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“Online misinformation is also a growing cause for concern, so we will continue to review digital platforms’ performance under the recently implemented industry code and advise government on their effectiveness.”

Another ACMA compliance priority is online gambling, with the ACMA supporting Australians through the launch of a new national self-exclusion register in early 2022–23. The register will cover licensed online and telephone betting services such as those offering betting on horse racing and sports. People will be able to exclude themselves from these services for anywhere between three months to permanently.

“The register will provide an avenue for people who want help changing their gambling habits and will complement existing consumer protection measures,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“Once you choose to self-exclude, it will be an offence for a licensed wagering provider to open an account for you, take a bet from you or to market gambling services to you. The ACMA will be enforcing those rules.”

The full list of ACMA compliance priorities for 2022-23 is:

  • Supporting Australians to self-exclude from online and phone gambling–with the establishment of national self-exclusion register
  • Protecting telco customers experiencing financial hardship–especially making sure telcos comply with rules relating to the disconnection of services
  • Enforcing SMS and email unsubscribe rules–concentrating on businesses that take no notice of customers unsubscribe request or make it hard for them to unsubscribe
  • Combating SMS and identity theft phone scams–enforcing new rules on telcos to use stronger ID checks and establishing new rules to reduce SMS scams
  • Tackling online supply of dodgy devices–including educating Australians about the risks of buying these devices online
  • Improving quality captioning on TV–adjusting our monitoring approach to better determine whether TV broadcasters are consistently and reliably meeting their obligations
  • Combating misinformation and disinformation on digital platforms–continuing to review platforms’ data and performance measures under industry’s self-regulatory code of practice.

The ACMA’s compliance priorities were informed by submissions made through a public consultation process undertaken earlier this year.

“Our compliance, enforcement and other work will not be limited to these priorities. However, they do give a heads-up to the sectors we regulate of focus areas we will be targeting in 2022–23,” said Ms O’Loughlin.

More details on the 2022–23 compliance priorities are available on the ACMA website.

MR 21/2022

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