UPDATE:  The FTC has issued another challenge to tackle the problem of illegal robocalls – the “Zapping Rachel” contest at DEF CON 22.  For more information, please visit www.ftc.gov/ZapRachel


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is challenging innovators to create solutions that will block illegal robocalls. These solutions should block robocalls on landlines and mobile phones and can operate on a proprietary or non-proprietary device or platform. Entries can be proposed technical solutions or functional solutions and proofs of concept.

The vast majority of telephone calls that deliver a prerecorded message trying to sell something to the recipient are illegal. As technology has advanced over the years, so have the number of illegal robocalls. 

The winning solution will win $50,000 in cash, as well as opportunities for promotion, exposure, and recognition by the FTC. Solvers will retain ownership of their solutions. Companies with over 10 employees will be eligible to compete for the Federal Trade Commission Technology Achievement Award, which does not include a cash prize. For more information about prizes please see the Official Rules.





Hackathon Sponsors


$50,000 in prizes

Best Overall Solution (2)

Cash Prize + Trip to Washington, D.C. to present solution

Federal Trade Commission Technology Achievement Award

Honorary only, no cash prize

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

How to enter

  1. Create an account or log in with an existing ChallengePost account.
  2. On http://Robocall.Challenge.gov, click Accept this challenge to register your interest in participating. This step ensures that you will receive important challenge updates.
  3. Develop a solution that will block illegal robocalls on landlines and/or mobile phones and can operate on a proprietary or non-proprietary device or platform. Entries can be proposed technical solutions or functional solutions and proofs of concept. Create a technical proposal describing how the solution works or would work if implemented and confirm that your proposal addresses all questions on the Criteria Details page.
  4. Confirm that you have read and agree to the Official Rules.
  5. Submissions must include:
    • a title;
    • one or more images representative of your solution;
    • indication of whether or not the contestant is a large organization and the name of the organization (if applicable);
    • a brief text description of how the solution functions or would function if implemented;
    • a file upload including the technical proposal. These materials should total 15 pages or less and should specifically address each of the three judging criteria for this challenge;
    • and all other required submission form fields.
  6. Submissions may also include a video demonstrating a working solution on a device or an emulator, or describing how the proposed solution would work if implemented. Any such video shall consist of technical content (rather than marketing material) and total no more than 5 minutes. Videos that demonstrate usability or illustrate dynamic processes are particularly helpful. If you choose to create a video you must fill out a video consent form for everyone who appears in your video, regardless of age.


Steve Bellovin

Steve Bellovin
Chief Technology Officer, Federal Trade Commission

Henning Schulzrinne

Henning Schulzrinne
Chief Technology Officer, Federal Communications Commission

Kara Swisher

Kara Swisher
Co-Executive Editor, All Things Digital

Judging Criteria

  • Does it work? (50%)
  • Is it easy to use? (25%)
  • Can it be rolled out? (25%)
    Refer to Criteria Details page for additional information.

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