The (item) is a small hardware/software device that can be installed on/or built into any existing phone line, both cellular and land, that will act as a proxy for incoming calls. It will filter based on a contact list provided by the user and provide an authentication mechanism for all incoming callers that are not on the approved list. If the incoming caller can perform the authentication correctly he/she are allowed through the proxy firewall. If not, the call is either blocked entirely or sent straight to voicemail without ringing, as per dictated by the user.
Breakdown: There are two functions performed by the (item). Its function is similar to a proxy server and firewall on a private network. It intercepts all incoming calls and filters them based on two simple criteria and makes a decision based on the authentication procedures and user settings. The two pieces of the hardware are as follows:
-The Contact List- The first function of the hardware is to perform a fine filter of the incoming calls. If the incoming call is not on an approved caller list, which can be maintained using full numbers, partial numbers or area codes, it is sent to the second authentication procedure. This function acts sort of like a contact list on a cell phone, but instead of just remembering numbers for ease of dialing it checks them.
-The Human Test- The second function of the hardware is to administer a test to the incoming caller to ensure that it is a human and not a spam bot. This function is similar to the captcha procedures used on many websites now. The hardware will give the caller a 4 letter code, and if the caller can input the correct answer the call is connected. If the caller fails to input the correct random pin, the call is either sent directly to voicemail or blocked entirely, a setting determined by the user of the hardware. To ensure that the captcha software is robust enough to severely hinder current voice recognition software, a few unique design principles will be used. First, there will be random noises playing during the code in the background, such as birds chirping. This will help to confuse voice recognition but not hinder a human being. Second, the code will be a random series of numbers correlated to the letters on the dial pad. This will force the caller to use basic reasoning for the code. Finally, the only letters that will be utilized will be B, C, D, E, G, P, T, V, and Z. Voice recognition software has great trouble hearing the nuance between the letters (which all make the long E sound). So, for example, a code that could be generated would be DPTV which would be 3788.