• On February 8, 2011, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., sent a letter to the FTC asking it to investigate the in-app purchase processes that Apple and Google provide on their respective smart phones. The letter was prompted by an article in the Washington Post describing how children are buying hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of applications or virtual items that are being sold within games. Rep. Markey expressed particular concern about how these applications are being promoted and delivered to children “who are unlikely to understand the ramifications of in-app purchases.” A copy of Rep. Markey’s letter can be found here.
  • The FTC will host a forum on May 11, 2011, in Washington, DC to examine how the government, businesses, and consumer protection organizations can work together to prevent consumers from receiving unauthorized third-party charges on their phone bills — a practice known as “cramming.” The forum, which will be held at the FTC’s satellite building conference center, will be open to the public. Any persons interested in appearing on the panel must submit requests to the FTC no later than March 4, 2011. The FTC also invites interested parties to submit comments on cramming prevention through the FTC’s online comment form no later than April 27, 2011. The FTC’s Press Release on the Cramming Forum can be found here. Comments can be submitted to the FTChere.