Consumer Protection Alert: Buyer Beware


President Barack Obama’s commitment to consumer privacy faces an early but critical test concerning federal safeguards for mobile-device users. Consumer advocate organizations, the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG), filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on January 13, 2009. The organizations seek protections to curb the ability of companies to track consumers’ mobile Web-surfing habits, a measure which would prevent companies from targeting advertisements to mobile device consumers.

The complaint amends two petitions filed by the groups in 2006 and 2007 requesting that the FTC create safeguards regulating “behavioral” Internet advertising. CDD and USPIRG’s new concern appears to be the greater immediacy of mobile marketing that comes from the user’s more personal relationship with his or her mobile device, as well as location and tracking information that is unique to wireless.

Please see full alert for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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