FTC Issues Paper on Internet Consumer Protection

The Federal Trade Commission yesterday issued a staff working paper examining how its consumer protection rules and guides apply to advertising and sales on the Internet. The paper, “Dot Com Disclosures: Information about Online Advertising,” provides guidance to businesses about how FTC law applies to online activities with a focus on the clarity and conspicuousness of disclosures in Internet ads. The paper also examines how rules and guides that use words like “written,” “writing,” “printed” and “direct mail” apply to new technologies.

“Dot commerce is the new Main Street,” said Jodi Bernstein, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “This guidance represents the cooperative efforts of government, communications experts in industry and consumer groups to achieve fair and informative online advertising for consumers.”

The paper advises online advertisers to follow the same consumer protection laws that apply to commercial activities in other media.

Copies of the paper are available on the FTC’s Web site., www.ftc.gov.

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