The FTC Is Looking For A Few Good Robocall Hackers


The FCC is not the only federal agency tasked with regulating telephone calls. The FTC also regulates telephone calls pursuant to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”) (16 C.F.R. § 310 et seq.). And while the scope of the TCPA and the TSR differs, the two sets of regulations overlap in a key area—prerecorded calls. See 47 C.F.R. § 227(b)(1); 16 C.F.R. § 310(b)(iv). As we have noted in a previous post, these regulations are not entirely consistent.

As part of its effort to enforce regulations governing such calls, the FTC is conducting a “Zapping Rachel” contest at DEF CON 22 (an annual hacker convention held in Las Vegas) that offers entrants $17,000 in cash prizes for open-source solutions in three related but stand-alone contests: (i) to help build a robocall honeypot (a system designed to attract robocalls and gather information about them in order to assist in combatting violations), (ii) to circumvent or trick a honeypot, and (iii) to analyze data from an existing honeypot.

For more information, view the FTC’s press release: FTC Publishes Official Rules for Zapping Rachel Robocall Contest.

For the full contest rules, view DEFCON v. Rachel the Robocaller: A Contest to Combat Robocalls.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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