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.

Justin O. Kay

About the Author: Justin O. Kay

Justin Kay advises and defends business clients regarding their interactions and communications with consumers. He appears regularly on behalf of clients before federal and state courts, federal agencies and independent self-regulatory bodies, such as the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau. Justin’s practice focuses on defending clients in the growing number of complex class actions arising under federal and state consumer protection and privacy laws such as the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act and the California Consumer Privacy Act. He is a deputy leader of the litigation practice group.

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