Best Overall Solution

A system for preventing robocallers.

29 comments

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Nothing about this submission is public?

about 1 year ago

What's the point of the challenge and prize if the winning result is a secret ?

about 1 year ago

The video is available on their website, and is rather insightful.

One point, though, is that they intend to use conditional call forwarding to monitor incoming calls. That makes no sense, though -- what condition would you use? Generally the only conditions available for this are if unreachable, busy, or unanwered, at which point it's too late.

Unconditional call forwarding makes more sense, though usually carriers charge the consumer for this option.

This point needs clarification as this entire system is useless unless multiple people use the service.

about 1 year ago

jordan A:
well, when I clicked on the link, youtube says:
"sorry about that - private"

about 1 year ago

Have to click on the website link where the video is hosted.
I fail to see how this works as well as RoboChoice would.
The solution is too simplistic to cover many cases.

about 1 year ago

Interesting approach, and nice video. But there are several issues with the solution:

A. Conditional call forwarding on the PSTN does not generally ring 2 destinations simultaneously, as "line hunting" does. It's only presented to the 2nd destination after forwarding action has been conditionally invoked, at which point it's no longer available to the original destination. Line hunting, to provide simultaneous ringing at 2 endpoints, is primarily a PBX feature, not so much a PSTN one, if at all.

B. How does the system deal with robocalls that use numbers spoofed from the white list? It seems likely that many organizations would belong to the white list, but that would result in making a large number of whitelist numbers good candidates for spoofing.

C. The demo implies that a caller is blacklisted by not responding to a single prompt. I'd think more than a single instance would be needed, to avoid incorrectly blacklisting the number, if there were call audio issues, or the caller fat fingers the digit replies. Similarly, this handling could be abused to deliberately blacklist callers.

about 1 year ago

It also assumes that the person calling understands English. For most people this is fine, but for non-English speakers calling someone in the US, this wouldn't work.

about 1 year ago

This solution does not work.

"Conditional Call Forwarding" as defined in traditional (land-line and mobile) end-offices does not do "simultaneous ringing". When the "condition" is met (and the "condition" can be busy or don't answer, or for "selective call forwarding" it is generally matching one of a list of incoming calling line ID's, where the list has been entered into the switch in ADVANCE), the call is forwarded to the alternate destination, INSTEAD of ringing the target line.

There is today no "generally available" star-code in mobile and fixed-line switches for the feature on which this solution depends. Some switches do have a "simultaneous ring" feature but it is not widely licensed from the switch manufacturers and not generally made available by the network operators.

Even if that feature were available, think about what would happen to call signaling traffic if any sizable number of people actually turned on this "solution". For every incoming call to a subscriber, the end-office switch / MTSO is going to have to set up an additional outbound call to the "NOMOROBO" server. That server (or actually complex of servers) is going to have to be monstrous in order to handle the volume of inbound traffic.

And the solution seems to fall apart when robocallers move to randomized caller-ID (as some already have). A robocaller can simply use, for example, the phone number to which he made his last call, as the caller-ID for his next call. He never uses the same caller-ID twice, so there's nothing to match. (And they will keep coming up with more clever, less detectable schemes as time wears on).

about 1 year ago

This "filter device" solution already exists as the Digitone Call Blocker, an FTC Challenge submission that was overlooked. The top winner is using a phone company feature that will cost extra money for every customer per month and, not all phone companies offer "Conditional Call Forwarding" including Comcast officially.

Looks like the consumer still loses in the end as the cost to maintain the databases at the FTC and compulsion to integrate that service into "Comcasts" that don't have the service will just escalate to even higher costs for the consumer.

Watch the Nomorobo video at their website and see how Aunt Betty who can't find her glasses to dial 71 in time to prevent being blocked when she gets the message. They don't offer a recourse solution for her. Looks like you will need a whole call center to handle the mistakes. More escalation. And what about emergencies to get through? ........

Can the governmental agency FTC force private phone companies to install Conditional Call Forwarding and at their expense?

This challenge is still unresolved.

about 1 year ago

"This is the NoMoRobo Admin Dasboard - this tool is only available to the FTC" - I see some severe issues of privacy violation with this. Perhaps putting the power in the users hands would have been more appropriate - such as with submission:
http://robocall.challenge.gov/submissions/12538-whitelisted-address-book?utm_campaign=ftc-robocall-challenge_20121001&utm_medium=email&utm_source=transactional

about 1 year ago

Without a truth in Caller I/D requirement, this solution won't work very well.

about 1 year ago

Couple questions to FTC judges and people who read this post.

1) If 2 ideas are similar but one submitted one day before the other one, wouldn't the first submitter get the recognition first?

2) I see that NoMoRobo is based on Google Voice with the enhancement of CAPTCHA. To be fair to all the submitters, whatever the stuff submitted to the FTC shall be made public. Would like to know the operating cost of this solution. If it costs $10 per month per phone line, who's paying (the user or the government)? Some people in the U.S. cannot afford the $5 per month callerID service; they see it as unnecessary cost and thus they don't want to pay for it.

3) I see NoMoRobo video made available in March 23, 2013. This is over 2 months after the deadline, the video shall be automatically dismissed as it missed the January 2013 deadline.

4) When I submitted my project 2 days before the deadline, I also put my video demonstrating the working prototype on the same day. Today, I tracked my video viewed history. I see that the judges never viewed my demo video. This begs the question of fairness. Isn't all the solution submitted be reviewed by the judges?

As the submitter to ZapIt (www.sokha.com), I'd like to know what the judges and readers of this post have to say.

about 1 year ago

This solution is useless unless there is a way to positively identify the source of the call, independent of Caller-Id, which can be spoofed.

Also, the "best" solution should be one that does not require a paid "subscription" to the phone company.

The "best" solution would be one that is under the control of the destination user - the person being harassed by these calls.

about 1 year ago

This proposed technology already exists at the phone company and therefore this winning solution doesn't qualify as an entry per the FTC Challenge rules.

about 1 year ago

Both winning entries show an ignorance by the judges of what is possible with the existing telephone system.

about 1 year ago

NO-MO-BO-BO. How many clown solutions got awarded?

about 1 year ago

For those of you who are unhappy with the outcome please give my entry a look:

http://robocall.challenge.gov/submissions/13334-the-phone-cop

This contest was rather biased from the beginning (i.e. "legal" robocalls) but there are true solutions to the problem.

Thanks.

about 1 year ago

Winning Solutions:
Can't be explained
not practical
not ready to use and probably won't be

Do you want to start blocking now?

Go to: www.digitone.com

A working system where you control who calls and when.

All you need is the Call Blocker and caller ID. No monthly fees!

You can even block entire area codes like 877 etc.

If you want something that works now then you need one of these.

A very happy customer,

Tom in Oshkosh

about 1 year ago

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about 1 year ago

I would like to see the evaluation of these solutions to the requirements listed. In each of the winners I don't see technical coverage for all the requirements.

about 1 year ago

I have learned from the "Challenge" that;

1) The FTC is not endorsing any of the winning technologies. Huh?

2) Hopes the contest will lead to private industry embracing these new ideas. So this takes the FTC off the hook?

3) The whole thing was a PR campaign? or, a platform for private industry to take over?

April Fools day was yesterday.

about 1 year ago

Congrats on the win, I just watched your video. The only protection this system provides is a captcha system which will be easily by passed once the robocallers learn the system. The gray, white and black list will help, but people change their phone numbers allot and your system would block phone numbers that get changed.

To all the people who lost this competition but feel their submission was worthy of winning, now is the time to patent your idea so when these fail you will not get robbed of your hard work.

about 1 year ago

Regrettably, the winning submissions are built on and are disclosed after the patentable submissions made by others. Should I file a provisional patent application to protect my rights, this may be a problem for your winners. Late entries clearly copy, intentionally or coincidentally, and build on the ideas of earlier entries. I hope this doesn't cause a problem for you or the "winners".

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