Australia and New Zealand collaborate in fight against spam and scam messages

Australia and New Zealand will look to further enhance ongoing joint efforts to combat unlawful spam and scams under an agreement signed by the communications regulator of each country.

The ACMA and New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to further promote strategic engagement, facilitate information sharing and enhance compliance and enforcement outcomes.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin says Australia and New Zealand have been long-term partners in this space and share many of the same challenges when it comes to reducing spam and SMS scams.

She says, “Just about everyone with a mobile phone or email address will understand the frustration that comes from unwanted spam and scams.

 “Research we conducted in 2021 shows 98 per cent of Australian adults receive unsolicited communications on their phone.

 “The recent ‘FluBot’ malware scam affected both Australians and New Zealanders, and information sharing with our New Zealand counterparts has aided the ACMA’s spam and scam work.

 “This agreement will see our already-close relationship with our New Zealand counterparts enhanced through more strategic cooperation.”

Secretary for Internal Affairs Paul James says this new agreement lifts the already close cooperation between New Zealand and Australia on spam to a new level.

He says, “Phishing campaigns and malware delivered through spam continues to be an increasing challenge globally – working collaboratively with other international jurisdictions is a key way to tackle this issue and protect New Zealanders.

 “Enabling the agencies to share intelligence, techniques and tools for combatting spam, as well as sharing information on phishing and malware delivered through spam demonstrates the close working relationship between the two regulators.”

Both Australia and New Zealand are actively working with key international partners to look for mutually beneficial ways to cooperate.

This MOU follows the ACMA entering similar arrangements with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the USA’s FCC.

All four agencies are core members of the Unsolicited Communications Enforcement Network, a global network of regulators and key stakeholders dedicated to tackling unsolicited communications.

The MoU came into effect immediately upon signing and has been published on the ACMA website.