Majoras said the FTC plans hearings some time this fall to ponder the next generation of consumer high-tech threats.
"At these hearings, we will address a series of critical questions: What have we learned over the past decade? How can we apply those lessons to what we do know, and what we cannot know, as we look to the future?"
She said the focus of the hearings will be how best to protect consumers in the virtual marketplace of the future.
Majoras noted that the FTC held similar hearings in 1995. At that conference, more than 70 experts in business, technology, economics and consumer protection analyzed the consumer protection challenges likely to emerge in the late 1990s and early 21st century.
"No one even mentioned spyware or similar intrusive software," she said. "Today, however, spyware is fast overtaking spam as consumers' top online concern."
She did concede that the hearing participants were unaware of the emergence of spyware. "Ten years now is an eternity for technology, and the technological underpinnings for spyware were just being developed at about the time of the FTC's hearings."