If this were a video blog, you'd see us doing that “Wayne’s World” gesture of admiration to our two new favorite people, Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss. And just what did they do to warrant our (and your) appreciation?
Judges for the FTC’s Robocall Challenge have announced that Mr. Danis and Mr. Foss will share the $50,000 prize for Best Overall Solution in response to the national call for a technological approach to the vexing problem of illegal robocalls. Danis’s proposal, Robocall Filtering System and Device with Autonomous Blacklisting, Whitelisting, GrayListing and Caller ID Spoof Detection, would analyze and block robocalls using software that could be implemented as a mobile app, a device in users’ homes, or a feature offered by telephone service providers. Foss’s idea, called Nomorobo, is a cloud-based solution that would use “simultaneous ringing" — allowing incoming calls to be routed to a second phone line that would identify and hang up on illegal robocalls before they could ring through to the user.
Also recognized by the judges: Daniel Klein and Dean Jackson from Google for their proposal, Crowd-Sourced Call Identification and Suppression, which would use automated algorithms to identify spam callers. Organizations that employ 10 or more people weren’t eligible for the cash prize, but they merit a big thanks nonetheless.
You can see brief descriptions of other challenge entries on a submission gallery at robocall.challenge.gov. As FTC employees, we weren't eligible, but we’ll offer businesses our slightly lower-tech solution that could do much to solve the problem: Cut it out, follow the law, and quit robocalling people illegally.