FTC doles out $50,000 to winners of Robocall Challenge

By on April 3, 2013, 8:30 AM

The Federal Trade Commission recently wrapped up a contest designed to find an effective solution to combat robocalls – spammy automated phone calls that deliver a pre-recorded message to unlucky recipients. The annoying messages account for roughly 200,000 complaints each month – enough for the FTC to cough up a $50,000 prize for whoever could come up with the best method to put an end to the unwanted calls.

Nearly 800 eligible entries were submitted but when it was all said and done, the FTC ultimately selected two winners to split the grand prize: Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss. Both will receive $25,000 for their proposals which both focus on intercepting and filtering out illegal prerecorded calls.

The FTC also issued a third non-monetary prize for organizations with 10 or more employees. Daniel Klein and Dean Jackson from Google were awarded the Robocall Challenge Technology Achievement Award for their Crowd-Sourced Call Identification and Suppression solution. This method would use automated algorithms to identify spam callers, the FTC said.

Charles Harwood, Acting Director, FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the winners’ solutions have the potential to turn the tide on illegal robocalls and show the wisdom of tapping into the genius and technical expertise of the public.

Submissions were evaluated based on whether or not the proposal actually worked (worth 50 percent), how easy it is to use (25 percent) and if it can actually be implemented (25 percent). FTC Chief Technologist Steve Bellovin, FCC Chief Technologist Henning Schulzrinne, and Kara Swisher, Co-Executive Editor of All Things D were responsible for judging the contest.




User Comments: 5

Got something to say? Post a comment
Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

The only way to combat Robocall is to call on Robocop.

SCJake said:

So... considering that Google-group's solution is crowdsourced... does that mean we could possible end the red cross calls if we did it right? granted theyre not a robocall per se, but its still a machine picking a random number to call. Ive gotten to the point where I have their number saved in my phone and when they call me (!!EVERY!! day between 12pm-1:15pm) I just answer the phone F*** OFF! then hang up

wiyosaya said:

So... considering that Google-group's solution is crowdsourced... does that mean we could possible end the red cross calls if we did it right? granted theyre not a robocall per se, but its still a machine picking a random number to call. Ive gotten to the point where I have their number saved in my phone and when they call me (!!EVERY!! day between 12pm-1:15pm) I just answer the phone F*** OFF! then hang up

I don't get pestered by the Red Cross, so this is not out of personal experience with them, however, have you tried asking them to put you on their do not call list? Most reputable charities will put you on their do not call list if you ask them to, and you will never hear from them again. I also suggest asking them politely to do so.

Also, with this, I hope it filters out political robo calls especially those that automatically make you part of a town meeting.

SCJake said:

Dude ive been on with the manager and ive been on with his manager. Because my cell phone is listed under a business plan they refuse to remove it or decrease the call volume. The moment they told me that was the moment I stopped being polite

P.S. my phone is not listed as the business number, just paid for by the business

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

Get it on the market ... get it going... get er done ...

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.