From The Sip Trunking Experts

TMCNet:  Treasure Valley man tries to slay the robocall monster

[January 16, 2013]

Treasure Valley man tries to slay the robocall monster

Jan 17, 2013 (The Idaho Statesman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Shawn Davis spends most of his life solving problems with technology. He works an early shift in the IT department at Supervalu, then goes home to his Meridian apartment to work on his Web-design business, Royal Blue Graphics. Lately, though, he's been dreaming up a way to stop scammers: a system that would thwart robocalls.

Davis, 27, is competing against hundreds of other inventors in a Federal Trade Commission contest aimed at blocking illegal robocalls on both cellphones and land lines.

More than 1 million Idaho phone numbers were on the national Do Not Call Registry in fiscal 2011, according to the FTC. The state ranked third in the nation for robocall complaints that year. The FTC received more than 16,000 complaints from Idahoans about unwanted or recorded phone calls -- about one complaint for every 100 residents. It's unclear whether Idahoans are targeted more than average or just more likely to report abuse.

Davis' idea is to mesh a popular Internet security feature with a variation on the longstanding phone feature that lets you know who called and who hung up by punching *69. The system would be offered through your phone-service provider.

"I showed it to people and they liked the concept," he said.

His concept, named Roboblock *12, goes like this: -- You're at home eating dinner with the family and the phone rings. You pick it up, realize it's a robocall and hang up. You immediately dial *12, which adds the last inbound phone number to a database of blocked numbers. You could select among options such as blocking it for 120 days or blocking it permanently.

-- If a caller wants to be unblocked, the system will try to verify that he is not a robot by asking him to identify himself and press a few random numbers. This is similar to a web-based "CAPTCHA" feature that requires a person to type in jumbled letters.

-- The system would be adaptable. It could be programmed, for example, to know that a call from Idaho's area code, 208, is probably OK; if it turns out to be a robocall or just an unwelcome call, the user could block the number by pressing *12. The system also could learn to block repeat offenders -- callers who get the *12 treatment from too many subscribers in a 30-day period -- by adding their phone numbers to a universal blocked list.

Davis' idea is still just that. He hasn't built a system. He's tweaking the idea as he uncovers possible problems and finds additional ways to make life easier for the consumer and harder for the robocaller.

Idaho's anti-robocall law launched in 2001. The Idaho Attorney General's Office has enforced it since then.

"It's a challenge we've faced for a long time," said Brett DeLange, deputy attorney general for consumer protection. "People are understandably displeased. They take the time to sign up on the Do Not Call list and think that should be honored." Getting a phone number or name of the caller can help investigators trace where the call originated, though that's often a losing game, since many illegal robocallers use aliases and "spoof" their phone numbers to show fake ones.

DeLange has one way to deal with robocalls until a better solution is developed. "When the DeLange household gets one of these, we just hang up," he said. "Unfortunately we've probably gotten enough where we know if it's a taped message." He noted that political robocalls -- which, along with calls from charities and health care providers, are legal -- are just as annoying to Idahoans.

"They get blizzarded by calls about this issue or that candidate," DeLange said.

The FTC launched the contest in October and is taking entries until Thursday night. It had received nearly 300 in its submission gallery as of Monday. The winner, to be announced April 15, will receive $50,000 in cash, keep ownership of the idea and have the idea promoted by the FTC.

Davis hopes his idea will gain traction whether it wins the contest or not.

"Everybody is used to this system," he said. "It's been out there. It's nothing new. We're just transforming it from the computer to the phone. They should've had this a long time ago." Audrey Dutton: 377-6448 Twitter: @IDS_Audrey ___ (c)2013 The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho) Visit The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

[ Back To SIP Trunking Home's Homepage ]

Subscribe here for your FREE
SIP TRUNKING enewslettter.

Featured Partner

Featured Whitepapers

SIP Security for the Enterprise
Voice over IP (VoIP) is incorporated into a variety of computer networks, both public and private, and used for everyday transactions and communications among carriers, businesses, government agencies...

Making A Broadband Purchase Decision
Businesses today have many options for broadband connectivity. Clarifying your particular business needs prior to selecting a broadband provider will ensure an optimal match of broadband service to your requirements.

Voice-Optimized Network Delivers Premier Call Experience
Customers equate call quality with business quality. Real-time communication, interpersonal interaction, and the cordial tone of a call center representative can create a positive impression of your business that no email can match.

Featured Case Studies

Business Telecom Expenses Reduced 50%
A small to medium sized company in the midwest was interested in migrating to IP Communications, but in today's economy, they were hesitant to upgrade their communication system due to their perception that the cost would outweigh the benefits.

Multi-State Company Cuts Telecom Costs 50%
A multi-site, multi-state company with extensive monthly long distance fees and toll-free charges did not have adequate broadband for Broadvox SIP Trunking requirements, nor did they have a SIP enabled telephone system.

Discover Leisure Connects Remote Users to its IP-PBX
Discover Leisure is one of the largest resellers of caravans and motor homes in the UK. With 15 branch of?ces all over the country, the company spent a great deal of money every month just on internal phone calls.

Featured eBOOKS

Internet+: The Way Toward Global Unified Communication
Connecting the telephony of the enterprise PBX or Unified Communications (UC) system using SIP trunks instead of conventional telephone lines has been very successful in recent years.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 2
SIP trunking is becoming more of a focus for service providers. One key issue many service providers face when deploying SIP trunks is NAT, or Network Address Translation, traversal.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 1
A vast resource for information about all things SIP - including SIP, security, VoIP, SIP trunking and Unified Communications.

Featured Videos

Broadvox VAR Testimonial VAR 1:
Part 1 of the VAR (Value Added Reseller) Partner Program Testimonials for Broadvox...

E-SBCs AS The Demarcation Point:
Ingate's Steve Johnson talks to Erik Linask about the role session border controller plays as the demarcation point at...

Demystifying DPI
How can deep packet inspection protect your SIP traffic as well as your entire network?

Featured Resources

Partner Program Overview:
Over 4,000 VARs, Master Agents, Solution Providers, and Independent IT Professionals trust Broadvox. We offer customized services and solutions to fit seamlessly into any company's business model. And when you partner with Broadvox, every member of our team stands behind you and your customers 100%...

SIP Trunk UC Summit

What's New

Presenting the New Ingate/Intertex Website:
Internet+ is an extended Internet access allowing high quality SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based real-time person-to-person communication, everywhere and for any application. It applies to both fixed and mobile networks ...

Featured Blogs

Featured Webinars

Secure SIP Trunking:
What You Need to Know

Successfully Deploying Enterprise SIP Trunking:
Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Common Roadblocks

Featured Podcasts

Getting the Most Out of Your SIP Trunks:
Ingate's Steve Johnson and TMC's Erik Linask discuss how best practices forgetting the most out of SIP Trunking services and common pitfalls to avoid.

Featured Datasheets

Ingate SIParator E-SBCs
Adopting SIP is a simple process with the Ingate SIParator, the secure enterprise session border controller (E-SBC). The SIParator makes secure SIP communications - including VoIP,SIP trunking and more - possible while working seamlessly with your existing network firewall.

Ingate Firewalls
Everyone is talking about enterprise usage of VoIP, instant messaging and other types of realtime communications including presence and conferencing.

SIP Trunk Solutions for Service Providers
The award-winning Ingate Firewall and Ingate SIParator deliver a high quality, reliable SIP trunk connection between the customer's IP-PBX and the service provider network, and solve interoperability issues to simplify deployments and support for remote diagnosis of reported issues.