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Flawed Form Allows Bots To Register Thousands Of O'Hare Noise Complaints

By Margaret Paulson in News on Mar 19, 2015 9:30PM

Sadly this is not what the bots actually look like (Shutterstock/Shutterstock)

According to the Chicago Department of Aviation’s January 2015 Airport Noise Management System report, of the 39,500 noise complaints registered in January, nearly 25,000— or 63 percent of all complaints— came from just six addresses.

According to the report, here are the specifics on the repeat complainers:

- 5,677 of 7,771 complaints in Bensenville came from 1 address.
- 4,306 of 9,772 complaints in Chicago came from 1 address.
- 1,770 of 2,340 complaints in Elk Grove Village came from 1 address.
11,155 of 11,373 complaints in Norridge came from 1 address.

- 2,079 of 6,811 complaints in Wood Dale came from 2 addresses.

To demonstrate how absolutely bonkers this is on multiple levels, the report, which comes out monthly, only tracked 6,321 complaints in January 2014 and 1,357 in January 2013. According to the aviation blog Flight Club, on average, each of the six households would have to spend roughly six hours per day filing the complaints to reach nearly 25,000 complaints in one month.

Of course, this isn’t really what happened. Complaints can be made via phone or using an online form, but because the form does not employ a CAPTCHA, someone can write a simple program to automatically send hundreds of responses a day.

Living near O’Hare has to be tough, but apparently the Residential Sound Insulation Program and efforts by the Suburban O’Hare Commission just aren’t enough to appease the people. But seriously Chicago Department of Aviation— get a CAPTCHA.