FTC Offers $50K for Tech Solution to Fight Robocallers

The Federal Trade Commission is looking for someone to create “an innovative solution” for blocking illegal commercial robocalls on landlines and mobile phones.
Yes, that’s how bad things have gotten with those pesky automated recordings that claim to offer financially advantageous deals, but are often deceptive pitches or outright scams.
Under the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, the vast majority of commercial robocalls are illegal, unless the recipient has given the caller advance written permission to call them.
The agency is launching the FTC Robocall Challenge, offering a $50,000 cash prize for the best technical solution.
This is the agency’s first contest hosted on Challenge.gov, an  platform administered by the U.S. General Services Administration, in partnership with ChallengePost.
“The FTC is attacking illegal robocalls on all fronts, and one of the things that we can do as a government agency is to tap into the genius and technical expertise among the public,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We think this will be an effective approach in the case of robocalls because the winner of our challenge will become a national hero.”
A commercial robocall is a telephone call that delivers a recorded sales message. These calls often are unwanted and frequently deceptive, the FTC says.
The FTC Robocall Challenge is free and open to the public. Entries will be accepted until January 17, 2013, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time.
Judges will evaluate the entries, and if a winning solution is identified, the FTC will announce the winner(s) early next April.
A complete list of official rules and frequently asked questions are available on Challenge.gov.

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