• On February 22, 2011, the FTC announced that it will investigate the marketing and delivery techniques of mobile applications that charge users for products and services within the application. The probe follows the FTC’s receipt of letters from Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., urging an investigation into in-app transactions. In his statement on the investigation, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz stated that in-app purchases for certain applications “raised concerns that consumers may not fully understand the ramifications of those charges.”
  • On February 14, 2011, Tim Wu, a Columbia Law Professor, began work at the FTC as a senior advisor on long-range competition and consumer protection initiatives. Mr. Wu, currently on leave from Columbia, has been credited with coining the term “net neutrality” and has remained outspoken on the issue. In discussing the appointment, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz noted that while Mr. Wu may be known for his work on net neutrality, “here at the FTC he’ll be working on issues at the nexus of consumer protection, competition, law and technology.”
  • 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. The FTC 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 FTC here.