FTC Awards $50,000 Prize For Ideas On Killing Robocalls

from the die-rachel-from-cardholder-services,-die dept

We mentioned last fall that the FTC had declared "Rachel from Cardholder Services" as enemy number one -- referencing the all too common spammy robocaller scams that many of us have received on our phones. It has now awarded two $25,000 prizes out of 744 entries in ways to help block such robocalls.
According to the FTC, Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will each receive $25,000 for their proposals, which both use software to intercept and filter 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.
Of course, now the followup questions: will these solutions actually be put in place and work? And how long will it take for robocallers to route around these solutions?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 4:15am

    "And how long will it take for robocallers to route around these solutions?"

    Nuking robo-callers from orbit is the only way to be sure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 4:21am

    Maybe mysterious Rachel is the same mysterious person that actually pays Mike Masnick...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 4:41am

    Re:

    That's funny. I heard you were a stand-up comedian, but I see nothing upstanding here, either.

    ...Huh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    John Katos, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 5:04am

    Re-route

    How long, very quickly. A couple of days ago I received a call from Rachel that showed up as a "private" call.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Dan (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 5:17am

    A CAPTCHA-style test would suck. Have the phone ask one out of any number of random questions any human would know, and wait for an answer before connecting. The tech is already available.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 5:24am

    Re:

    I can understand how the type of people you support rationalize their antisocial behavior, what is amazing is the ease with which they convince commoners to provide support.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 5:53am

    this will be as big a waste of money as the scheme in the UK on new anti-piracy technology. obviously someone in government is getting a kickback, all be it a small one, but things often start small.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 5:58am

    Perhaps the answer lies in who is charged for the call.
    I do not pay for a service so that others have easy access with which to harass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Ben (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 6:19am

    Is the title right?

    The title is:
    FTC Awards Two $50,000 Prizes For Ideas On Killing Robocalls

    ... but the post has:
    Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will each receive $25,000 for their proposals

    I'm a bit out of practice, but isn't that two $25,000 prizes?

    Note the title of the linked article is
    FTC awards $50k in prizes to cut off exasperating robocalls

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    ShellMG, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 7:05am

    Re:

    That's why we haven't had a landline in eight years. The taxes and fees on it made killing it very easy.

    As to my cell, if I don't know the number it doesn't get answered. I'm more likely to pick up a call from a local area code (which could be doctors, etc.) but even that's not safe anymore as spammers get creative.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 8:56am

    Seriously? No-one had thought of black- and white-lists before?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 9:05am

    Re: Is the title right?

    Oops. Fixed. Thanks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    magscanner, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 9:06am

    robocalls

    Is there some reason why we can't just follow the money and put the robocallers out of business? If the government can't do it, there's always direct action. Somewhere along the line, someone has to meet you face to face. That's when you and your friends hold them upside down and shake until the keys fall out of their pockets. Further details left as an exercise for the reader.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Shel10 (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    Robocalls

    White List/Black List... Great idea. Has anyone thought about how this strategy will be implemented? I suppose that the Carriers will provide this service at a fee?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    dennis deems (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Re:

    I know right? I assumed this would be a challenge comparable to improving Netflix recommendations...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Ninja (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:47am

    I'd offer @50k per head of robocaller operators out there. That would fix it ;D

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    RoyalPITA (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Robocalls

    White List/Black List... Great idea. Has anyone thought about how this strategy will be implemented?

    I bought my mother a caller ID box that has a whitelist. If the number's not on it the ring signal doesn't get through to the main phone. The answering machine will still answer after so many rings: I put that in front of the ID unit with it's ringer turned off.

    Long term solution: outlaw ALL telemarketing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Jake, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 9:08pm

    Re: Re-route

    There are services that force incoming calls from blocked numbers to enter a security code before the call goes through. Problem solved.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 12:25am

    Re: Re: Re-route

    I don't understand why consumers have to pay to stop this crap.
    The phone company can tell me down to the second how long I was on a call so they can round it up to the next minute, but somehow they can't block the service they sell allowing robocallers to use fake CID information.

    I understand there are real uses for fake CID information, batter women shelters and safe houses, police, etc...

    If you want the phone companies to care, fine them more than they earn offering the service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Marilynn Byerly (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 7:21am

    Death to Robocalls

    I've had robocalls about "social security" for the last three mornings an hour before my alarm went off. In this case, I support the death penalty.

    A state senator has a bill going through the NC House to add political robocalls to the "do not call" registry. Since I had four calls one Saturday morning before the alarm during the fall elections, I so hope this bill becomes law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    I cant believe this was the winner, Apr 19th, 2013 @ 11:36am

    I've been using Google Voice for months filtering phone calls. How is this new or different? Everyone presented the same idea. Brilliant. How about we start applying for jobs on craigslist (yes, that is where they find their employees) and beating the shit out of our coworkers once we get hired.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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