Most automated telemarketing robocalls were declared illegal in 2009, but like all things declared illegal, they keep on happening. Now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is offering a $50,000 prize to anyone who can develop a solution to block robocalls. Along with the cash, the winner will instantly achieve "national hero" status.
Almost never wanted and often deceptive, robocalls are computer generated phone messages that deliver sales messages or other offers. Robocalls often bypass the National Do Not Call List and are illegal unless the recipient has given the caller advance written permission to call them.
In an effort to thwart the robocallers, the FTC has launched the FTC Robocall Challenge, offering a $50,000 cash prize for the best technical solution capable of blocking robocalls on landline and cell phones.
"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 the FTV's David Vladeck in a press release. "We think this will be an effective approach in the case of robocalls because the winner of our challenge will become a national hero."
Details of the Contest
The FTC Robocall Challenge is open to the public and free to enter. If a winning robocall blocking solution is chosen, the $50,000 prize will go to the individual, team or small company (no more than 10 people) that developed it. Larger companies may enter, but are not eligible for the cash prize.
Suggested solution will be judged based in the following criteria:
Does it work? (50%)
Is it easy to use? (25%)
Can it be rolled out? (25%)
Entries to the FTC Robocall Challenge will be accepted beginning on October 25, 2012, at 5:00pm ET, until January 17, 2013, at 5:00 pm ET. Judges will evaluate the entries, and if a winning solution is identified, the FTC will announce the winner(s) early in April 2013.