•   about 8 years ago

Phone Call Firewall

Using a small inexpensive device (Phone Call Firewall) that would allow the phone owner the ability to enter and store phone numbers of those you want to allow calls from. When a call comes in and the CID matches a number in the device's database the call is allowed through and will ring the phone owner's phones.

If the number for the caller (telemarketer) doesn't match a number in the database, a brief message will tell them (the caller) that they are not allowed to ring the owner's phone but if they wish to be added to the owner's database please leave a message with their information and if the phone owner agrees will add their number to his device (PCF) or simply return their call at a later time. Importantly; do not allow the phones to ring if the CID does not contain a match within the PCF but simply light an LED on the device then those messages can be checked like standard voicemail.

For family and friends you can also specify within the PCF an emergency bypass code so that if a member of the the PCF's family is calling from a phone number (CID) known not to be within the PCF database then the bypass code can be entered at anytime to override the system and allow the call to go through and ring the owner's phones.

This way, when the owner of the PCF's phone rings he/she will feel confident that the caller is important and their identity is known.

You could also have a more sophisticated system that would list the blocked numbers on a small LCD screen which would allow the PCF owner to quickly scan the calls and delete them individually or delete all without having to listen to voicemail.

CID would of course be a requirement for the PCF to work properly.

Cheers,
Jason

  • 10 comments

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    The device needs a CAPTCHA like interface for unexpected important incoming calls. This device would help with legal robocalls (like political calls) also.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    Any solution blocking based on incoming phone number won't meet the criteria.
    I believe FTC is looking for technologies to automatically identify the robocall and drop them.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    While this would be a great "niche" product, I don't think the solution to this problem comes from asking the user to talk action. Google's "Google Voice" has implemented fixes to this problem by making their own firewall that looks for numbers that have been confirmed as spam. See this link (http://support.google.com/voice/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=115089). While this solution requires for direct action from the user to report a call as spam, it uses a firewall controlled directly by Google and not the user.
    Please see my post to see how you could have a firewall to find these robo-calls without asking the user to take any action (http://robocall.challenge.gov/forum_topics/1550)

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    Thanks for your replies.

    Like most of us; I doubt I would check the blocked calls that often if ever. I'd just delete them or set the PCF to auto-delete blocked calls after so many days have passed. It would require a little setup on the owner's part but once that's done; you could set it and forget it.

    The only way in my mind that any device could determine whether or not a call is legitimate or not would be to require companies to use some type of additional technology so that their phone calls would send out a signal that could be interpreted by a device that the call is business related and not personal.

    George, you have a great idea there. Ask the caller to enter the sum of two numbers maybe.

    My solution (if you will) guarantees that you are not bothered by phone calls from unknown sources. The calls make it to your PCF but no further unless they have a bypass code or or valid CID.

    It will be interested to see if someone can come up with a way to identify a caller without the CID.

  •   •   about 8 years ago

    Very interested idea. I think most of this could be added in smartphones today. It could be a nice competitive feature for some phone manuf. one other feature I would buy is the ability to shut off the legal Robocallers as well. They may be legal but I don't have to allow them access to waste my time. Give me a switch to shut off politicians and allow only reverse 911 emergencies.

  •   •   almost 8 years ago

    @Jason N: Call the bypass code an "extension". Every telephone database already supports that, and people are accustomed to the concept of an "extension". Also, this could be implemented in any cordless phone base station:

    Have a list of trusted callers that are automatically put through.

    Have a list of blocked callers that are automatically dumped.

    And then offer callers that are not on either of those lists the opportunity to key in the "extension", or press "O" to leave a message.

    You could even configure the phone to move callers that use a valid "extension" to the trusted list. Put simply, a cordless base station now becomes its own little PBX. And of course, this could be virtualized by any service provider, e.g., to support mobile.

    Finally, as to having to allow "First-Amendment" robocalls through, I have an absolute right to reject any call that I don't want, whether I do it, or have a machine do it for me.

  •   •   almost 8 years ago

    Any chance you are in the DC area? we are looking for entrants to interview for a TV story.

    thanks,

    Colleen

  • Manager   •   almost 8 years ago

    Hi all,

    Just wanted to let you know that ChallengePost and the Federal Trade Commission will not give preference to any submitter who responds to, or participates in any interview. Participating in any interview will not influence how a submission is scored or a submission's chances of winning a prize. Please contact support@challengepost.com with any questions.

    Best,
    Marny

  •   •   almost 8 years ago

    DS, those are great suggestions. Allowing calls that use the bypass code or "extension" to be added to the PCF database would certainly make it more user-friendly and less time consuming.

    The key to the PCF would be to only ring the phone when the caller is known.

    Cheers,
    JN

  •   •   almost 8 years ago

    Hi CW, I am not in the DC area unfortunately.

    Regards,
    JN

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