Cyberjacking, Mousetrapping, and the FTC Act: Are Federal Consumer Protection Laws Helping or Hurting Online Consumers?

3 Vand. J. Ent. L. & Prac. 221, 2001

26 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2013

Date Written: April 1, 2001

Abstract

The law, as a regulatory mechanism, has always struggled to keep up with technological advances. With the rapidly increasing technological advances related to the Internet, this struggle has been magnified exponentially. It would be foolish, then, to expect to find a perfect solution to all of the ills the Internet also creates. Indeed, it is unreasonable to condemn as ineffectual customary law and governmental regulations for their failures to achieve the impossible. But such a caveat should not preclude the search for a better solution. This Note offers one possible regulatory solution to protect consumers from the ills spawned by the rapidly evolving Internet economy. Through an exploration of the background of the Internet, its technical aspects, and the current state of Internet regulation, this note recommends that the FTC Act should be amended to give private citizens a cause of action against deceptive trade practices and fraud on the Internet. This note further argues that such an amendment should offer enhanced damages and attorneys’ fees in order to incentivize the use of this private cause of action. This regime would broaden the regulatory ability of the FTC Act without damaging the vibrant and competitive free market of the Internet.

Keywords: Internet, Consumer Protection, Unintended Consequences, Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Regulatory Policy, Website, Online, Federal Trade Commission

Suggested Citation

Sanney, Kenneth J., Cyberjacking, Mousetrapping, and the FTC Act: Are Federal Consumer Protection Laws Helping or Hurting Online Consumers? (April 1, 2001). 3 Vand. J. Ent. L. & Prac. 221, 2001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2219981

Kenneth J. Sanney (Contact Author)

Western Carolina University ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.wcu.edu

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