On July 24 the FTC will host a town hall meeting to focus on new high tech ways to buy stuff, like using a smart card or key fob to pay for gas at the pump or paying for groceries with your mobile phone. Keeping abreast of the FTC's thinking in this area will be of interest to anyone who sells goods or services directly to consumers and may be considering alternate payment methods as a consumer convenience. The FTC hosted a forum in 2006 and issued a report in April of 2008 on "Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade," which examined many technological developments that will affect consumer's buying experiences. Contactless payment was one the FTC staff decided was worthy of its own in-depth discussion. The town hall plans to focus on an overview of contactless payment devices, the need to educate consumers on the risks of using such payment methods, security and privacy threats from such devices and proposed solutions, and what new technology is emerging for such payments (personally we're still waiting for the one that doesn't actually debit money from your checking account.) If you want to submit comments, participate as a panelist or recommend other topics for discussion, instructions can be found here. If a trip to Washington in July (and you're not a big fan of heat and high humidity) is not in your plans, we will be attending the town hall and letting you know what everyone was talking about. From the discussions to date and the current FTC enforcement priorities, we expect the meeting to focus on the risks to consumers' personal data being compromised and what best practices should be encouraged to prevent identity theft.