Two Inventions Get FTC Prize To STOP Robocalls!



Robocall Challenge! Stop Illegal Telemarketing Calls!Robocall Challenge! Stop Illegal Telemarketing Calls!


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may not receive many robocalls, but it gets more than 200,000 complaints about the buggers every month. It finally decided last fall to issue a challenge to the public to see who could come up with a way to stop the marketing calls before they reach your ringer.  The Robocall Challenge winners, announced April 2, 2013, were not the most inventive invectives, but the most likely-to-be-effective technologies invented separately by software developer Aaron Foss and computer engineer Serdar Danis.

Foss, who created a program he cleverly calls Nomorobo, intercepts blacklisted and whitelisted telephone numbers en route to land lines and cell phones when users choose to activate it. It detects whether the call is a robocall and stops it before it ever reaches your phone.  The system 'learns' to identify new robocall numbers by their frequency of appearance and intercepts them to determine if they are human or robotic by requesting an audio captsha.  Humans must prove themselves before being forwarded to your number. Robots are dropped.


Nomoromo by Aaron Foss: image via by Aaron Foss: image via


Danis's technology is similar to Nomorobo, and his invention's title says it all: Robocall Filtering System and Device With Autonomous Blacklisting, Whitelisting, Graylisting and Caller ID Spoof Detection.  The system is similar to Nomorobo, but can be implemented with hardware or software.

A Technology Achievement Award was given to Daniel Klein and Dean Jackson, who did not receive monetary awards because they work for a company - Google.  Their idea is for a crowdsourced database of telephone numbers of the annoying telemarketers.

All of these technologies are workable.  The question is how long will it take them to set up the systems to get rid of the #*&%@^ calls? In the meantime, here are some tips from the FTC.There are also some good call filter devices you can purchase for less than $100. 

Sources:, TechTalk

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