Audio “CAPTCHA” Gateway is a technology designed to intercept an incoming phone call and verify it's “human-ness”. It is an auditory implementation of similar technologies that are used on the Internet to prevent bots and scripts from submitting forms on web pages.
Just as a “CAPTCHA” on the web challenges the end user to enter random text or numbers displayed on a noisy background, the Audio “CAPTCHA” Gateway will challenge callers to enter four random numbers that are played back over background noise. If the caller successfully enters the numbers, they will be whitelisted to prevent future call interceptions and their call with proceed as dialed. However, if they fail to enter the correct numbers after 3 tries, their call will be disconnected.
The gateway should not require any significant investment or changes in telco infrastructure as it is similar to the technology that a majority of them use for their automated customer service systems. And with the gateway being similar to an automated customer service system, it should not pose any significant difficulties for consumers who have used such systems.
With the gateway being maintained by the telco, it should be compatible with any consumer device that is currently compatible with a modern telephone system. That includes standard land line phones, smart phones, dumb phones, soft phones, VoIP phones, and any other device capable of DTMF dialing. No other software or hardware will have to be bought, installed, or maintained by the consumer.
The most obvious shortcoming of the gateway is that those with a hearing impairment will not be able to hear the audio prompts. This problem can be dealt with through the current TTY /TRS system.
A provision can be made for consumers to opt-out of the service, for example, businesses or individuals who simply don't want to inconvenience their callers. And of course emergency services and government services will not be subject to having their incoming calls intercepted.
Three short audio demos of the Audio “CAPTCHA” Gateway are in the included ZIP file:
a_correct_response.mp3 – The message the caller hears when they enter the correct numbers. an_incorrect_response.mp3 – The message the caller hears when they enter incorrect numbers. disconnect.mp3 – The message the caller hears when they are disconnected.