Find a way to stop robocalls to grab this $50k prize

Here’s a challenge tailored to our community if we’ve ever seen one. You know those delightful unsolicited prerecorded calls you get from time to time? They might be political, but they also come from companies trying to sell you vinyl siding, or promising improvements in your business. Well they’re against the law in many cases, and complaints to the Federal Trade Commission have been piling up. So now the FTC is offering a $50,000 bounty to anyone who can find a way to block the calls.

It’s called the Robocall Challenge and you’ve got until January 17th, 2013 to get your entry submitted. The great thing is, this doesn’t need to be a fully working solution. Your entry may be: “proposed technical solutions or functional solutions and proofs of concept “. Even better, you retain ownership of the solution even if you win. This type of recognition will surely have telco related companies beating a path to your door.

Of course if you do have a solution, we’d love to hear about it too!

[Thanks Filespace via WCPO]

Comments

  1. UBERKron says:

    I’ve never received a robo call, I do have a ” no such number ” tone for voicemail though. And also I’ve not answered a hidden number for many years. When company with hidden number leaves a message it is cleared without listening. All done using a cheap android phone. It seems your phone companies do not have fair use policies.

  2. Hugh says:

    Idea: Send a high pitched noise through the telephone line and dectect reverb. If no reverb is detected then the caller is likely a robot.

  3. pasquale says:

    Try a free telemarketer blocking software. Or let your provincial or state. Ministry or government office of business look into it. You will get better results. FBI or RCMP may help.

  4. M H says:

    What they should do is let economics take care of the problem.

    Let everyone with a home phone number set the price of receiving an unsolicited commercial call. The caller sets the amount they are willing to pay
    to contact a particular individual.

    The phone company collects money from the calls originator/wherever it enters their network (based on the recipients price, plus their markup).

    Up to subsidiary carrier to collect from their customers (i.e. they have to make up
    the difference themselves).
    The phone companies will probably promptly shut down connections from any
    subsidiary who can not meet their bills.
    The subsidiaries have incentive to be sure their customers are legit.

    Home users get to determine the worth of their time and services.
    (Those who are interested in making some extra money might set the figure lowish,
    those who just don’t want to be disturbed can set the price high.
    A $200/hour lawyer can set the price commensurate with what they charge
    for their time in other contexts.)

    Solicitors will be less able to abuse people’s privacy and not overuse the resource
    because they have to bear the cost.

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