FTC selects two winners in Robocall Challenge, gives each $25,000

Apr 2, 2013

Back in October 2012, the FTC decided to make the battle against annoying robocalls public, tasking the hivemind with a challenge to develop technology for dealing with the calls. The incentive was a $50,000 award, in addition to a trip to Washington D.C. where the solution would be presented. Now, nearly six months later, the challenge is over and the winners have been selected.

The award was split down the middle and given to two individuals - Aaron Foss and Serdar Danis - each of whom submitted their own entries for their own respective solutions, both of which apparently had equal appeal to the FTC. As such, each winner has been awarded $25,000 and will be flown to Washington D.C. at no expense, where each will present their solutions to an audience.

Foss's idea centered around a cloud-based platform that operated a secondary phone line that initially accepted calls. The platform would have a way to identify the robotic calls, and would hang up on them, meaning the end destination would never receive the call. Danis's entry involves an operator-provided device or app that recognized the robocalls and intercepted them, hanging up before the homeowner had to deal with it.

In addition to the cash award for entries, we also noted in October that the FTC was offering a Technology Achievement Award to companies with more than ten employees, which ended up going to Dean Jackson and Daniel Klein of Google. Said the FTC: "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."

[via PC Magazine]

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