The FTC Is Looking For A Few Good Robocall Hackers

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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.