Monday, October 22, 2012

You Could Win $50K and Create World Peace

When the Federal Trade Commission offers cash reward to help find a solution to problem it gets people’s attention. That is precisely what they are doing and it got my attention. According to the FTC website the Commission is challenging the public to create an innovative solution that will block illegal commercial robocalls on landlines and mobile phones.

As part of its ongoing campaign against these illegal, prerecorded telemarketing calls, the agency is launching the FTC Robocall Challenge, and offering a $50,000 cash prize for the best technical solution. The fact that the government is reaching out for help to address this issue demonstrates that the increase in these incessant and irritating interruptions to our peace and quiet may not be a risk to our national security but for sure to our national sanity.

While I am trying to wean myself from old habits, I still do try to answer my phone when it rings. I may be raking leaves, fixing the roof or washing the car but will stop to answer the phone. It is great to hear the voice of my wife or kids on the other end but not so great to hear, “This is Mary Sue from Credit Card Services informing you that there is no issue with your credit card but if you stay on the line one of our representatives will describe an offer that will…”

In the olden days, i.e. a year ago, these calls came in on landlines to our homes and offices. Today you are just as likely to get one on your mobile phone. Many of us are now getting calls that begin with the sound of an ocean liner horn and continue with the wonderful news that we can travel around the world free.

It is not only commercial enterprise that has adopted Robocalling. Not to name drop but I regularly get calls from Steve Chabot, First Lady Obama, Josh Mandel and several of Sherrod Brown’s close associates.

I for one don’t have a solution. I wish I did not so much as to collect the $50,000, although that would be nice, but to put these guys out of business. I have till January 17th to submit an idea. If the phone would stop ringing perhaps I could concentrate.


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