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A way to eradicate robocalls for good?

Posting in Government

Robotic calls. Perhaps one of the most irritating things in existence -- the voice telling you it is possible to claim on your PPI insurance, or perhaps you'd like a new conservatory.

At one point in my new apartment, I was receiving four to five a day -- all from abroad. In resignation, I had to pay for an additional service to stop the majority getting through. However, when new spam call trends include automatically paying for a call when you pick up the phone, the problem becomes less an annoyance, and far more an epidemic problem.

Despite laws forbidding many types of cold calls, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has admitted that consumers are receiving more than ever due to technological advances, and "Companies are using autodialers that can send out thousands of phone calls every minute for an incredibly low cost."

If government bodies can't cope with the problem, you turn to the private sector. The FTC created a competition called the "FTC Robocall Challenge" which aimed to find innovative methods to stop the nuisance. Yesterday, the winners were announced, with two entrants splitting a $50,000 prize.

Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss' proposals used interception methods to "whitelist" and "blacklist" cells, using CAPTCHA-style tests to stop illegal calls from passing through. Danis' version included software that could be a mobile app or telephone service, whereas Foss' proposal uses "simultaneous ringing" to transfer calls to a second line -- where robocalls would be hung up on before reaching the end user.

it is hoped that these solutions will soon be on the market.

Want to know how robocalls operate? Check out the infographic below:

— By on April 2, 2013, 10:25 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure