Pindrop Security Announces Collaboration with FTC on Robocall Contest to Combat Illegal Automated Calls

PRESS RELEASE: Pindrop Security announced that it is providing data and analytics to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on two upcoming contests to combat phone fraud. One of the two contests will challenge the public to develop a crowd-sourced system for better analyzing and tackling illegal automated phone calls. These contests mark an important step in innovation for the telephone, a channel that has been relatively static for the past six decades.

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As part of the FTC’s “Robocalls: Humanity Strikes Back” initiative, contestants are being asked to create a technical solution for consumers that will identify unwanted robocalls received on landlines or mobile phones, and block and forward those calls to a honeypot, or system for catching the fraudsters. A qualifying phase of the contest launches today and runs through June 15, 2015; and a second and final phase concludes at security conference DEF CON 23 on Aug. 9, 2015. Contestants will compete for up to $50,000 in prizes.

“Robocallers are not only a nuisance; when used illegally, fraudsters can target specific groups with the aim of scamming or defrauding consumers by placing a large volume of calls in a short amount of time,” said David Dewey, Director of Research, Pindrop Security. “Pindrop Security supports the FTC and its effort to combat illegal robocallers and further protect the consumer. I’m excited to see the innovation that contestants propose to bring an end to illegal robocalling once and for all.”

The Commission will also host a new data analytic contest, DetectaRobo, during the National Day of Civic Hacking on June 6, 2015. Contestants who are interested in participating in DetectaRobo are encouraged to join a hackathon near them on June 6 or participate in the FTC’s contest virtually. The FTC will kick off registration for DetectaRobo on National Day, and will conclude the contest on June 7, 2015.

“We’re using many strategies to fight robocalls, including law enforcement, education, and crowd-sourced innovation,” said Jessica Rich, director, FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Following the success of our previous robocall challenges, we’re once again seeking expertise from the public to put a new tool in consumers’ hands, and to develop technology to help law enforcement and other partners investigate these calls.”

Complete rules for both contests are available on the FTC’s website and will also publish in the Federal Register. Contest information will also be available on Challenge.gov.