First Apple, now Amazon: Where is the FTC Heading on Digital Consumer Protection? (RSVP)

The FTC recently issued a complaint and consent order against Apple, alleging that its in-app purchasing design doesn’t meet the Commission’s standards of fairness. The action and resulting settlement drew a forceful dissent from Commissioner Wright and sparked a discussion among the Commissioners about balancing economic harms and benefits in Section 5 unfairness jurisprudence. More recently, the FTC followed up its action against Apple with a similar action against Amazon, now pending in federal district court.

These cases raise important questions about the FTC’s consumer protection enforcement practices, especially its use of economics. How does the Commission weigh the costs and benefits of its enforcement decisions? How does the agency employ economic analysis in digital consumer protection cases generally? What can the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection learn from the Bureau of Competition’s experience using economics in antitrust cases?

As we approach the hundred-year anniversary of the FTC’s formation, the proliferation of advanced consumer technology will continue to pose challenges for regulators. How should the agency approach unfairness issues in the digital age? What trade-offs are involved in second-guessing user-interface design and user-experience decisions? To what extent can and should the agency impose its own technical and design preferences on the firms it regulates?

Join TechFreedom and the International Center for Law and Economics on Thursday, July 31 at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company for a lunch event to discuss these important questions with top experts from the field. RSVP here.

This event is the latest installment of our year-long project, “FTC: Technology and Reform,” launched in December. The Project brings together a unique collection of experts on the law, economics, and technology of competition and consumer protection to consider challenges facing the FTC in general, and especially regarding its regulation of technology. The Project’s initial report, released in December 2013, identified critical questions facing the agency, Congress, and the courts about the FTC’s future, and proposed a framework for addressing them.

The event will be live streamed (details and link coming soon). Join the conversation on Twitter with the #FTCReform hashtag.

Thursday, July 31
11:45am – 12:15pm — Lunch and registration
12:15pm – 2:00pm — Panel discussion (details coming soon)

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company – Rehearsal Hall
641 D St NW
Washington, DC 20004

A list of panelists will be announced soon, so save the date and stay tuned!

Questions? – Email

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About TechFreedom:

TechFreedom is a non-profit, non-partisan technology policy think tank. We work to chart a path forward for policymakers towards a bright future where technology enhances freedom, and freedom enhances technology.

About The International Center for Law and Economics:

The International Center for Law and Economics is a non-profit, non-partisan research center aimed at fostering rigorous policy analysis and evidence-based regulation.