The Federal Trade Commission and the Technology Law and Public Policy clinic at the University of Washington Law School will host a one-day Town Hall meeting to explore emerging uses of contactless payment devices and their implications for consumer protection policy.

The Town Hall, entitled "Pay on the Go: Consumers and Contactless Payment, " follows up on the FTC's November 2006 forum, "Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade," which examined the key technological and business developments that will shape consumers' experiences in the coming decade.

Contactless payment devices, which use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to allow consumers to make low dollar-value purchases by holding an RFID-enabled device (such as a smart card, key fob, or mobile phone) in proximity to a reader, are increasingly available in the U.S. The Town Hall will explore the extent to which contactless devices and readers are being deployed domestically and around the world, along with potential benefits and risks to consumers of their use.

The Town Hall will explore consumer protection issues arising from the use of contactless devices and readers in both retail and public transit payment. Topics will include:

  • An overview of various contactless payment devices;
  • Consumers' understanding of contactless payment capabilities and potential risks, and the need for further consumer education;
  • Security and privacy threats and proposed solutions;
  • Emerging practices and technologies that may shape the contactless payment marketplace over the coming years.

The Town Hall, which is free and open to the public, will be held July 24, 2008, at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, WA. More information about the Town Hall can be found at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/payonthego/index.shtml.