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BizReport : Law & Regulation : April 03, 2013

FTC announces robocall-buster winners

The Federal Trade Commission has announced the winners of its contest to find solutions that will save consumers from illegal, interruptive, and annoying robocalls.

by Helen Leggatt

Despite the majority of automated sales calls being illegal since 2009, developments in technology have seen a continued rise in complaints. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received millions of robocall-related complaints in 2012, around 200,000 each month, despite more people than ever before being registered on the national Do Not Call Registry (217 million).

To try to come up with a solution, the FTC launched a national competition late last year to develop technology to block annoying, and illegal, robocalls. It's hoped the winning technology will do what the Do Not Call Registry once did and protect consumers from the unwelcome interruptions.

From nearly 800 entries received, two winners were chosen - freelance software developer Aaron Foss from Long Island (NoMoRobo) and Serdar Danis, a computer engineer whose hometown was not disclosed (Robocall Filtering System and Device with Autonomous Blacklisting, Whitelisting, GrayListing and Caller ID spoof detection).

"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," said Charles Harwood, acting director of the agency's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

While the FTC won't themselves be endorsing either winning entry, they 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."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: automatic calling, Do Not Call, robocalls, sales, telephone technology

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