The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced that a solution called “RoboKiller” won the FTC’s Robocalls: Humanity Strikes Back contest for building a mobile app that blocks and forwards robocalls to a crowd-sourced honeypot. A “honeypot” is an information system that may be used by government, private, and academic partners to lure and analyze robocalls.

The solution uses audio-fingerprint technology to analyze the first few seconds of an incoming call to make sure the caller is not pre-recorded. If the call is determined to be a robocall, the call will not ring through, but the user of the service has the option to listen to the full recording if he/she so chooses and personalize the setting to accept certain robocalls, such as from political campaigns. In addition to being able to “black list” a number, the user is also able to “white list” a number (for example, the user can white list a number from a school that would let the user know about school closing). While currently unavailable, creators of RoboKiller hope to launch soon. 

TIP: In addition to legal enforcement, the FTC is demonstrating its continued concern about robocalls through the use of these contests aimed at curbing what it views as abusive practices.