FTC to Host Town Hall Meeting to Explore the Mobile Marketplace

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission will host a two-day Town Hall meeting to explore the evolving mobile commerce (M-commerce) marketplace and its implications for consumer protection policy. The Town Hall, titled “Beyond Voice: Mapping the Mobile Marketplace,” follows up on the FTC’s November 2006 forum, “Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-Ade,” which examined the key technological and business developments that will shape consumers’ core experiences in the coming decade. The Town Hall, which is free and open to the public, will be held May 6-7, 2008, at the FTC Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue N.W., Washington, DC, 20001.

Wireless devices, once associated only with voice telephone service, have become the launching pads for new technologies and services. People use their wireless devices to “chat” through text messaging, take pictures, browse the Web, listen to music, view shows, play games across cyberspace, and keep track of friends and relatives. Wireless devices also connect consumers with advertisers and marketers in myriad ways.

The Town Hall will explore consumer protection issues arising in the rapidly expanding world of M-commerce. Topics will include:

  • The use of mobile-messaging services as instruments of M-commerce;
  • Consumers’ ability to control mobile applications;
  • The adaptation of advertising to mobile devices, including the challenges presented by small screen disclosures;
  • M-commerce practices targeting children and teens;
  • Industry best practices in preventing fraud, disclosing costs, and resolving billing disputes;
  • Evolving security threats and solutions; and
  • Next-generation products and services.

The Commission invites interested parties to submit requests to be panelists and to recommend other topics for discussion. The requests should be submitted electronically to beyondvoice@ftc.gov by February 27, 2008. The Commission asks interested parties to include a statement detailing their expertise on the issues to be addressed at the Town Hall and complete contact information. The Commission will select panelists based on expertise and the need to represent a range of views. Panelists selected to participate will be notified by March 26, 2008.

Interested parties may submit written comments or original research until March 17, 2008. Comments should refer to “Beyond Voice – Comment, Project No. P074403.” To file electronically, follow the instructions and fill out the form at https://secure.commentworks.com/ftc-beyondvoice. Paper comments should include this reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-135 (Annex A), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Comments containing confidential material, however, must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled “Confidential,” and must comply with Commission Rule 4.9(c). The FTC is requesting that any paper comments be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because postal mail in the Washington area and the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

There is no pre-registration, but a government-issued photo ID is needed for admittance to the Town Hall. Members of the public and press who wish to participate but who cannot attend can view a live Webcast on the FTC’s Web site.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests for such accommodations should be submitted via e-mail to cmcglothlin@ftc.gov or by calling Carrie McGlothlin at 202-326-3388. Requests should be made in advance, include a detailed description of the accommodation needed and provide contact information.

More information about the Town Hall and the topic can be found at the URL: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/mobilemarket/index.shtml.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Claudia Bourne Farrell
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2181
STAFF CONTACT:
Ruth Yodaiken
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-2127