Robocalls: Humanity Strikes Back


Would you consider changing the coding languages that I may use?

No. To ensure that the judges can test your submission, contestants may only use the languages: C++, C, Java, PERL, Ruby, or Python.

What are you looking for in a solution?

contest diagramFor the qualifying phase, we are looking for the best user-friendly solution that accurately blocks robocalls from reaching consumers and forwards those robocalls to a honeypot. Check out this diagram of how the solution should function. For the final phase, we are looking for the best techniques and strategies that funnel robocalls to the contestant’s solutions. Please see the judging criteria in the Official Rules for additional information.

How can I provide the judges access to any platforms, tools or software needed to test my submission?

Depending on the platforms, tools, or software, you may:

  • Create a new user account for the judges with access to your platform, tools, or software, and include instructions on how judges may access your tools, software, or platform in your submission email to;
  • Provide the user name and password for your tool, software, or platform to the judges in your submission email to;
  • Provide alternative arrangements in your submission email to; or
  • Mail the necessary equipment or materials to Patricia Hsue, 600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Mail Stop CC-8528, Washington, D.C. 20580.
  • As specified in Section 4(C)(iii) of the Official Rules, the platforms, software or other tools needed to test the submission cannot require the FTC or the Contest judges to spend money or, require them to enter into binding agreement. See the Official Rules for additional information and certain exceptions.

What happens if the judges have difficulty testing my submission?

The judges may contact you for additional information if there are difficulties in testing or evaluating your submission.

What if I have a question for the judges on the criteria?

The FTC will be hosting a Reddit Ask Me Anything about the 2015 robocall contests on May 27, 2015 at 4:00 E.T. The contest judges and Pindrop Security, a contest partner, will be available to answer contestants’ questions at that time. If you are unable to participate, please email your questions to and we will respond as soon as possible.

When will you announce who is moving on to the final round?

We will announce the finalists by July 6, 2015 on our contest website. Please sign up for contest updates to receive notification of the announcement.

How soon can contestants start working on their submissions?

Contestants can start working on their submissions at any time. The deadline to submit is 7:00 p.m. P.T. on June 15, 2015.

When will you announce the winners?

We intend to announce the top scorers at DEF CON 23’s ceremony on Sunday, August 9. The FTC will announce the winners sometime after DEF CON 23 is over to enable the FTC to verify that the winners met the eligibility requirements specified in the Official Rules.

Will the judges know contestants’ identities during the judging process?

No, the FTC will anonymize contestants’ submissions by removing the originating email address before the judges view them. Section 4 of the Contest rules specifies that with the exception of the email address, no part of the submission may contain information revealing the contestant’s identity, such as a name, address, employment information, or other identifying details.