FTC Announces $50,000 Robocall Challenge Winners


The FTC recently announced that two winners had been selected for its Robocall Challenge -- Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will split the $50,000 prize for Best Overall Solution to block robocalls (h/t Sophos).

Danis' proposal, which he titled Robocall Filtering System and Device with Autonomous Blacklisting, Whitelisting, GrayListing and Caller ID Spoof Detection, would use software to detect and block robocalls. The software could be implemented as a mobile app, as an electronic device in the user's home, or as a feature of a provider's phone service.

Foss' proposal, titled Nomorobo, would use a cloud-based solution to route incoming calls to a second telephone line, which would identify and hang up on robocalls before they reached the recipient.

Organizations of 10 people or more were also eligible for the Robocall Challenge Technology Achievement Award, which doesn't include a cash prize -- Google's Daniel Klein and Dean Jackson won the award for their proposal, entitled Crowd-sourced Call Identification and Suppression, which would use automated algorithms to identify robocalls.

"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," Charles Harwood, acting director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. "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."