Hugh Pickens writes writes "Trevor Mogg writes that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) knows all too well that people are peeved about robocalls, those pesky automated, pre-recorded commercial calls that seem to come at the most inopportune moments and which are not only extremely annoying, but happen to be illegal. It’s been working with industry insiders and technical experts to try to find a way to put an end to the unwanted sales calls, but so far has been unable to come up with an effective answer so now it’s launching a contest asking for solutions to end annoying robocalls and offering $50,000 in prize money. “The FTC is attacking illegal robocalls on all fronts, and one of the things that we can do as a government agency is to tap into the genius and technical expertise among the public,” says David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, launching the FTC Robocall Challenge. “We think this will be an effective approach in the case of robocalls because the winner of our challenge will become a national hero.” The contest is free and open to all, with entries accepted from individuals, teams and corporations with fewer than 10 employees. According to the contest’s rules, the solution must fulfill the following criteria: it has to work; it has to be easy to use; it has to be easy to roll out. Check the list of rules and frequently asked questions. As part of the challenge, the FTC will provide participants, or “solvers,” with data on de-identified consumer complaints about robocalls made between June 2008 and September 2012 that will include: date of call; approximate time of call; reported caller name; first seven digits of reported caller phone number; and consumer area code."