National Retail Federation Urges Caution on Mobile Regs
“Mobile technology and processes are just beginning to emerge and we won’t know which practices the public will like or what methods will provide new benefits until the technology begins to coalesce,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said in a release.
“The government should not impose regulations that would forestall yet-to-be-imagined advances and innovation in order to avoid potential ‘harm’ based largely on speculation,” Duncan said.
“Some of the best innovations on the Internet today might have been suspect a generation ago but today they are benefits few consumers would want to live without,” he said. “The public very often embraces change as the ‘future’ becomes ‘now.’ Familiarity breeds content.”
Duncan was scheduled to participate in an FTC workshop on mobile payments Thursday called “Paper, Plastic… or Mobile?” as part of a panel discussion on privacy issues.
Duncan noted that a phone itself is “just a device, not a payment” and that actual payment could take place via a credit or debit card, directly from a bank account, be processed through the user’s phone bill, or be made through other means.
Any privacy rules developed for mobile payments should be no more restrictive than those for the underlying form of payment, he said.
“Retailers have always wanted to know their customers so they can serve them better and that doesn’t change simply because the method of payment changes,” Duncan said. “Mobile might help retailers get to know their customers more like they knew their customers generations ago, and offer more personalized service.”
Duncan said federal officials need to address a number of issues including a definition of what constitutes a mobile payment. That could include a payment made in a bricks-and-mortar store using a smartphone, a payment made for an online purchase on the same device, or payments made on a portable device such as an iPad tablet or a laptop computer.