FTC to Police Wireless Content?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 09, 2008

At a meeting yesterday, a Federal Trade Commission commissioner said his agency intends to start policing wireless content offers.

According to this story in RCR News, the commissioner, Jonathan Liebowitz, said he is especially concerned about content such as games and video services marketed to children. “Kids are usually more facile and fearless with technology than their parents — quick to click first and ask questions later,” he said. “A mobile phone that gives them easy access to content and purchasing power makes them easy prey for aggressive marketers,” he said. Basically, Liebowitz wants marketers to provide more disclosure. Think of it as Surgeon General’s warning on a pack of cigarettes.

It’s all very well, but here’s the downside: If FTC makes it harder for people to buy wireless content, that could slow carriers’ and content providers’ sales. Already, last year, wireless content revenues grew much slower than anticipated. New regulation could further dampen growth.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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