Tired of unsolicited calls using up your cellphone minutes? Do you find yourself running short before the month is over due to them? Do you have what it takes to develop a technology that would prevent robocalls and thereby prevent these type of phone calls from disturbing the recipients?
If so, the FTC Director of Consumer Protection believes that the winner could become a national hero with the additional incentive of $50,000 being offered by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for their efforts.
Though the term national hero may be somewhat of an exaggeration, the problem of robocalling is for real. In fact, it continues to flourish despite regulations and legal attempts to stomp out the problem. However, one must know that there are exceptions to the rules, laws, and regulations — such as the main one, which is designed to protect those individuals who actually opt-in to receive such solicitation. So, while the exceptions are few, telemarketers whose livelihood depends on making phone contact with the public as well as scam artists continue to bombard the public with unwanted calls — some even disturbing us in the middle of the night.
These calls have always been annoyance to me, but I recall, many years ago now, receiving a multitude of phone calls every Saturday morning between 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. At the time, these phone calls were especially annoying because they were coming to a home landline, which wasn’t easily turned off, so they would wake us up. After about the eighth such event, I decided to do my own personal investigation. It didn’t take me long to determine the exact company from which the calls were coming, the exact city from where the calls were being made, and the exact address where the boiler plant was located.
Then, with this information under my belt, I sat in wait one Saturday morning just hoping the phone would ring. When it did, I immediately answered the phone and waited a few moments so that the offender could begin his spiel. I then informed the person of how their disturbing behavior had created chaos in our home since Saturday mornings were the one day we could sleep in, and how the calls kept awakening the little ones. I further advised the person that I knew exactly where he worked, providing the street number, address, and city. I then not-so-subtly advised him to cease the calls to my home. I think I even went so far as to suggest that if the calls didn’t stop, I would be paying him a visit. The calls stopped.
But do we need to personally take matters into our own hands to stop this nonsense? Unfortunately, it seems that the FTC is powerless to stop those who continue to annoy and disturb our privacy. So it is now left in the hands of those who have the expertise as well as the ability to develop and present a technological answer to the problem. If you are such an individual, you could find yourself collecting the $50,000 cash prize. For those of you who might have an interest in submitting a proposal to the FTC, you have until January 17th, 2013 to get your solution submitted.
If this is you, I wish you luck and would love to hear about your progress.
Comments are welcome.
Source: The Verge
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com