Robocall Challenge Awards Winning Ideas
The champions have been chosen, and weapons drawn. Now let’s see if they can slay the dragon: the dreaded (illegal) robocall. As previously discussed in this space, the Federal Trade Commission launched a public contest last fall to solicit technical ideas to aid in stopping unauthorized, computer generated calls. It was called the Robocall Challenge, carried a $50,000 prize, and it generated decent interest (and high marks for creativity from a government agency).
The Challenge allowed three months to accepted ideas, which were mulled by a panel of technical judges on the following criteria: does it work? (50 percent), is it easy to use (25 percent) and can it be rolled out?
Winners were recently announced. In fact, it was a tie.
Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will each receive $25,000 for their proposals, which both focus on intercepting and filtering 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.
The details get quite technical, but check out the website if you’re interested. We loved the idea, and appreciate the FTC turning to crowdsourcing to alleviate a common concern in the telesales industry.
Robocalls are generally illegal if not related to political or charitable initiatives. Complaints about the calls have exploded in recent years, and while the Commission has been active in pursing the offenders, technical smoke screens often make it difficult to track the origin of the calls. Hopefully, the proposed solutions will have positive effect.
At The Sales Verification Company, we’re interested in all issues concerning telephone sales and consumer protections, and applaud the efforts of the FTC and the Federal Communications Commission in their efforts to make telesales a safe and reliable channel for companies and consumers alike. Third Party Verification is one of the greatest safeguards available against consumer fraud. It's legally required in many cases, and it’s always a prudent operational decision
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