The Straits Times
Published on Oct 25, 2012

Chapter closing for the phone book?

Listing of phone numbers under scrutiny after data protection law passed


The Government is reviewing the need for a free telephone book after the passing of Singapore's data protection Bill in Parliament on Oct 15.

With data privacy a major issue, the free listing of fixed-line subscribers' phone numbers and addresses in phone books, on CDs and online is under renewed scrutiny. The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) is now proposing that telcos no longer need to publish telephone directories - in physical media or in electronic form.

Over the past decade, the use of printed directories has waned. Last year, only 165,000 phone directories in print and CD form were collected, said IDA on its website last Thursday. This represents only about 8 per cent of the two million fixed-line subscribers.

The Government is also considering whether to amend two-decade-old licensing rules imposed on SingTel, StarHub and M1, as the rules may be in conflict with a key feature of the new law - a national Do-Not-Call registry which lets people opt out of marketing messages and calls.