The Federal Trade Commission is offering a $50,000 reward through Jan. 17 to whoever comes up with the best technical solution to the robocall problem.
The prerecorded nuisance calls have been illegal since 2009, but companies routinely violate the law. The FTC logs tens of thousands of robocall complaints each month. In the past year there were more than 2 million complaints. Not only are the calls cheap to make, they are hard for authorities to trace.
People may register to stop live telemarketing calls by signing up for the federal and state Do Not Call list. The list does not apply to robocalls.
David Vladeck, the head of the FTC's consumer protection bureau, predicts the winner of the challenge would become a national hero because of the frustration people feel about the bothersome calls.
The FTC is right to ask for the public's help in stopping robocalls. They are a nuisance that people should not have to tolerate.