RoboKiller Wins FTC Competition Aimed at Blocking Robocalls

RoboKiller Wins FTC Competition Aimed at Blocking Robocalls
Image: Pixabay
August 17, 2015

Are you tired of robocalls? Try RoboKiller.

The mobile app, created by Ethan Garr and Bryan Moyles, was named the winner of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) "Robocalls: Humanity Strikes Back" contest, a competition to find the most effective program for blocking and forwarding robocalls. In addition to the recognition, the creators will receive a $25,000 cash prize.

RoboKiller relies on universally available call forwarding that works on both landline and mobile phones, and uses audio-fingerprint technology to identify robocalls. Runner-up Hemant Sengar applied similar audio analytics in his solution and will receive a $10,500 prize.

"We hope the winners bring their dynamic solutions to the marketplace soon," Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a written statement. "Their products may block billions of unwanted robocalls, and help people report illegal robocallers to law enforcement."

RoboKiller gives consumers greater control over how and when they receive calls by sending robocalls to a spam filter that consumers can access at any time, utilizes consumer-controlled white and black list filtering, and provides personalized setting options. RoboKiller has not yet gone to market.

The FTC also announced the winners of the "DetectaRobo Analytic Challenge", an event scheduled in June in connection with the National Day of Civic Hacking. Contestants analyzed call data from an existing robocall honeypot and developed algorithms that identified which calls in the data set were likely robocalls. The winning teams employed similar strategies in examining particular data categories such as temporal information and area codes, and applied machine learning techniques. The "Champion RoboSleuth" was Team HaV, made up of Ved Deshpande and M. Henry Linder.

Last week, the FCC announced that it was issuing a record fine of $2.96 million for robocalling against Florida-based Travel Club Marketing.