Data protection agency readies 'do not call list' app

Data protection agency readies 'do not call list' app

Police examine evidence seized from a call centre scam gang during a raid in which eight people were arrested, in Bangkok in August. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Police examine evidence seized from a call centre scam gang during a raid in which eight people were arrested, in Bangkok in August. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Office of the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) is developing a "national do not call list" as an option for people to block unwanted calls and text messages and fend off call centre scammers.

It uses a downloadable app expected to be launched early next year. People can use it to block  companies or sectors they do not want to receive calls or text messages from. It will automatically block those numbers.

PDPC secretary-general Sivaruk Siwamogsatham said the agency developed the "do not call list" system to help people avoid unwanted calls and text messages. It would also compile white-listed public service numbers  that can connect to people.

Mr Sivanuk said the system will operate like the Whoscall app and marks the first step in the use of personal data and artificial intelligence to prevent scamming, especially by call centres.

He said the PDPC had not settled on a name, but it might be called the Smart PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act) app.  Other countries had adopted similar systems.

On Tuesday the PDPC and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) signed a three-year memorandum of understanding to collaborate in protecting personal information and increase the efficiency of supervision for the benefit of the public.

The MoU was signed by Mr Sivaruk and NBTC chairman Sarana Boonbaichaipruck.

Mr Sarana said the telecom sector plays a major role in daily life, helping improve the quality of life and promoting the development of services in collaboration with other sectors, such as telemedicine. 

In the telecom sector, the NBTC is the regulatory agency supervising the PDPA.

Trairat Viriyasirikul, acting secretary-general of the NBTC, said the PDPA has been operative since June 1, 2022, meaning the regulator cannot only refer to its own regulations to protect personal information in broadcasting and telecom operations.

The NBTC also has to take into account the PDPA and related laws pertaining to the protection of personal data, he said.

Meanwhile, the Anti Online Scam Operations Centre (AOC) said it received a total of 15,000 calls during the week Nov 1-6, the majority seeking consultation.

During the same period, it froze 678 bank accounts within one hour of being notified by scam victims, according to the Digital Economy and Society Ministry.

The ministry kicked off the AOC on Nov 1 to serve as a one-stop service point to tackle rampant online scams. The centre's 24-hour hotline for the public is 1441.

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