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Blog: Contest Winners Offer Way To End Robocalls

(credit: CBS3)

(credit: CBS3)

By Jim Donovan: Tired of being harrassed by annoying telemarketing calls? Well help may be on the way!

The Federal Trade Commission held a nationwide contest for developers to come up with a solution to end robotic phone calls and two men now are splitting a $50,000 prize. The two developed software that detects robotic calls and hangs up on prerecorded messages before the phone ever rings.

Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will each receive $25,000 for their proposals, which both focus on intercepting and filtering out illegal prerecorded calls using technology to “blacklist” robocaller phone numbers and “whitelist” numbers associated with acceptable incoming calls. Both proposals also would filter out unapproved robocallers using a CAPTCHA-style test to prevent illegal calls from ringing through to a user.

The challenge, designed to help solve this problem by spurring innovation in the marketplace, garnered nearly 800 eligible submissions.

“The solutions that our winners came up with have the potential to turn the tide on illegal robocalls, and they show the wisdom of tapping into the genius and technical expertise of the public,” said Charles Harwood, Acting Director, FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We’re hoping these winning proposals find their way to the marketplace soon, and will provide relief to millions of American consumers harassed by these calls.”

Brief descriptions of all the eligible challenge entries are available on a submission gallery at robocall.challenge.gov

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