FTC contest spurs new technologies to fight robocalling

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Danis's proposal could be used as a mobile app, electronic device or feature of a provider's telephone service. Foss's proposal would route incoming calls to a second telephone that would identify and hang-up on robocalls.   

Two Google employees, Daniel Klein and Dean Jackson, won a separate category for established companies. Their proposal would used automated algorithms to identify spam callers.

The FTC doesn't have any plans to implement the technologies, but the agency is encouraging private groups to contact the winners to bring the creations to market.

Charles Harwood, the acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said that in addition to being annoying and invasive, robocalls often peddle scams that cheat consumers out of their money.

He said the FTC, which manages the Do Not Call Registry, receives 200,000 complaints every month about illegal robocalls.

 “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,” Harwood said. “We’re hoping these winning proposals find their way to the marketplace soon, and will provide relief to millions of American consumers harassed by these calls.” 

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