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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. The Town Hall, which is free and open to the public, will be held July 24, 2008, in Room 133 of the University of Washington School of Law William H. Gates Hall, located at 15th Avenue NE & NE 43rd Street, in Seattle, WA. Directions are available at

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 Commission staff invites interested parties to submit requests to be panelists and to recommend other topics for discussion. The requests should be submitted electronically to by June 6, 2008. Interested parties should include a statement detailing their expertise on the issues to be addressed at the Town Hall and complete contact information. The Commission will select panelists based on expertise and the need to represent a range of views.

Interested parties may also submit written comments or original research until June 20, 2008. Comments should refer to “Pay on the Go – Comment, Project No. P059106.” To file electronically, follow the instructions and fill out the form at Paper comments should include this reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-135 (Annex T), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Comments containing confidential material, however, must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled “Confidential,” and must comply with Commission Rule 4.9(c). The FTC is requesting that any paper comments be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because postal mail to the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

There is no pre-registration. Members of the public and press who wish to participate but who cannot attend can view a live Webcast on the FTC’s Web site.

Information about accessibility for persons with disabilities on the UW campus is available at Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests for such accommodations should be submitted via e-mail to or by calling Carrie McGlothlin at 202-326-3388. Requests should be made in advance, include a detailed description of the accommodation needed, and provide contact information.

More information about the Town Hall can be found at:

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click

For further information on the Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic at the University of Washington Law School see

Contact Information

Claudia Bourne Farrell,
Office of Public Affairs