Millions of Australian households are set to lose protections against telemarketing calls and have their privacy shattered unless urgent changes are made to the Do Not Call Register, ACCAN Australia’s peak communications consumer organisation said today.

“The flood gates to intrusive and unwanted telemarketing calls are about to open for millions of people who are unaware that their telephone number is about to be kicked off the Do Not Call Register”, said Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) CEO Allan Asher.

“Immediate action needs to be taken to close the little known and ill-conceived loophole that limits registrations on the Do Not Call Register to three years”, Mr Asher said.

ACCAN is calling for the re-registration requirements to be removed from the register.

ACCAN’s call comes as the Federal Parliament considers changes to the Do Not Call Register legislation and the May deadline approaches for the expiry of more than 1 million numbers first listed on the database.

Mr Asher said the requirement to re-register a telephone number placed an unnecessary burden on consumers.

“Forcing consumers to re-register their number is nonsensical. The renewal requirement was never a well-thought strategy in the first place and puts Australia behind international best practice.

“Instead of channelling funds into making people aware of registration renewal, resources would be far better placed in making numbers on the register permanent,” he said.

Research by the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) shows only 25 per cent of people registered know that their registration is valid for 3 years, and only 15 per cent know they can re-register anytime before registration expires.

One in three Australian households or 4.1million numbers are currently on the Do Not Call Register.

ACCAN is also calling for consumers to be given the right to choose whether they consent to be contacted by some public interest entities such as charities, educational or religious organisations and government bodies.

“Australians should be free to nominate who they do want to be contacted by and customise their registration according to their requirements which the new ‘registered consent’ classifications allow,” Mr Asher said.

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