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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, April 4, 2013

Two inventors develop ways to stop robocalls

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Ben Gray, bgray@ajc.com
Telemarketing calls

By Clark Howard


Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss have won a competition hosted by the Federal Trade Commission that offered a large bounty for solving the robocall problem.

Federal agencies get 200,000 complaints a month about robocalls. That’s gigantic. And they haven’t been able to come up with any way to stop the criminal slime who use VoIP to place millions upon millions of calls every day virtually for free.

So the FTC put out the word about a competition called the RoboCall Challenge. It offered a $50,000 cash prize for anyone who could find a way to stop robocalls. The prize will now be split by both Danis and Foss.

Their winning submissions, titled “Robocall Filtering System and Device with Autonomous Blacklisting,Whitelisting, GrayListing and Caller ID Spoof Detection” and “Nomorobo,” respectively, use technology in a similar way.

Both have detection software that becomes progressively more intelligent to automatically block the calls. It will be several months before their systems come into use. But how awesome that the feds turned to the people to come up with a solution!

Meanwhile, a couple of corporate types from Google won a non-cash prize for doing the same thing. They will use all the info collected by Google to come up with a basic list that gets smarter using artificial intelligence to block calls.

It just goes to show that you can defeat bad technology with good technology!

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