We've all heard those annoying prerecorded marketing voice messages before. They're the spam of telephones. While many might just grind their teeth bear it, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to put a stop to it.
The FTC is starting the Robocall Challenge in order to once and for all put a stop to those annoying robotic telemarketers. The challenge offers a $50,000 bounty to anyone who can come up with a technical solution to the robocall menace.
Participating challengers will be given de-identified data on robocall consumer complaints made between June 2008 and September 2012. Data will include information on call dates, call lengths, and consumer area codes.
With the data the challenge participants will have to come up with a technical solution that lives up to the FTC's three prong criteria. Winners will be chosen based on their solutions ease of use, roll out potential, and effectiveness.
While the challenge may sound easy enough the real reason for the competition is because killing off robocalls is hard. The people behind robocalls use caller-ID spoofing so that when a consumer tries to call back the robocaller gets a different number. The method makes it remarkable difficult to trace the source of robocallers.
This will be the FTC's first use of the US government's new challege.gov contest. Challenge.gov was created by the US General Services Administration as a way to offer citizens a chance to come up with solutions to issues facing the nation.
Those interested in stopping the robocall menace have until 17 January to enter the contest. Participants can submit their ideas on the robocall.challenge.gov website starting 25 October. Winners are expected to be announced next April.
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