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  • FTC Encouraged by US Lawmaker to Probe Apple Practices


    According to the Washington Post, yesterday Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) encouraged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take another look at Apple, specifically the Cupertino-based company's "marketing practices of applications for Apple devices." Markey's concern, in case you're wondering, originates from reports that many apps and programs tailored to young audiences - children in particular - "may not adequately inform users of potential charges."

    Markey expressed his concern in a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Liebowtiz. According to the Post article, it was another Washington Post piece that Markey cited as evidence of Apple's questionable practices. Last Tuesday, the venerable publication ran a story about how several in-app purchases on iPad, iPod and iPhone games (among those named were Smurfs' Village and Tap Zoo) eventually shocked parents when they discovered their little ones' substantial purchases.

    Children used parents' passwords to make real charges on the games. In some cases, children made purchases without even using iTunes passwords because of a 15-minute window for downloads and charges that don't require a password.
    Just how much damage can one kid do when mom and dad think they're harmlessly playing on the iPhone? Well, according to the Post report, little Madison Kay went on a shopping spree of $99 batches of "Smurfberries" to the total sum value of $1,400. As a result, mom and dad weren't pleased. Consequently, Markey says the apps "may be taking advantage of childrens' lack of understanding when it comes to real money and buying pretend services and products on the Web."

    The FTC is yet to offer formal comment on the matter.

    Washington Post
    This article was originally published in forum thread: FTC Encouraged by US Lawmaker to Probe Apple Practices started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 36 Comments
    1. Antman217's Avatar
      Antman217 -
      Well theres a restrictions page in settings... you know... to restrict kids from let's say... in-app purchases? So I guess it's the parents fault for not knowing what their device is capable of.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      Quote Originally Posted by mortopher View Post
      Finally! There is already a way to prevent this. However, I do agree that Apple should be a little be clearer about inapp purchases and whatnot... a simple popup when first activating/restoring the phone would even be an improvement. They need to expand the features of it to include spending limits and such for Apps/Tunes. I let my younger sister us my iTunes and Cydia accounts b/c I know what a nuisance it can be in dealing with my parents about buying games/music and I don't mind at all when I see in my iTunes email that she's spent a few bucks getting a new song or two or bought a new game once in a while, but from time to time she'll have a brainfart and go spend $20 on ringtones or something else absolutely ridiculous. That's when i get annoyed by it.

      I'm curious about the smurf game though b/c multiple sources have said that it seems to be much more deceiving than any other app in regards to the in-app purchases. I believe it was the cause of the app dethroning Angry Birds finally, albeit only temporarily.
      You can limit any account to X number of dollars already using the Allowance feature.
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChaos View Post
      You can limit any account to X number of dollars already using the Allowance feature.
      Is that account specific or device specific?
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      It is iTunes account specific.
      About iTunes Store Allowance
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      They need to make it device specific.

      Thank you for the info though Capt.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      You are welcome. I am not sure I follow you with the device specific idea. Unless you are syncing more than one device to one iTunes account. I use this for my children. They have their own devices and their own iTunes account.
    1. xclusiveiphone's Avatar
      xclusiveiphone -
      Michael needs to title this article "America's dumbest parent." How hard is it to password protect the iPhone to keep kids from using it. Another useless post by Essany.
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChaos View Post
      You are welcome. I am not sure I follow you with the device specific idea. Unless you are syncing more than one device to one iTunes account. I use this for my children. They have their own devices and their own iTunes account.
      That's precisely it, I have 4 or 5 devices synced to my account. All but one of them are mine (iPhone, iPad, and older models i just tinker with) so it doesn't matter for them, but I'd prefer keeping the devices linked to one account rather than having to purchase apps multiple times. It isn't a big deal, as I only have my little sis added to my account, but whenever I used to help my family with their devices, it's a pain in the *** dealing with 4 or 5 different accounts and what apps are authorized for each device/account.


      On an entirely different note, I wish Apple would identify already purchased apps. There's a number of apps I've installed in the past but could not recall whether I had used the lite/free version or if I had bought the full version. There doesn't have to be a list of purchased apps or anything (though that'd be nice), but rather simply having the "Install" button identify if the app had been purchased already or not.
    1. Tali98's Avatar
      Tali98 -
      If my 5 year olds did the same thing with their iPod touch 4G, I would be supportive of it.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      Quote Originally Posted by mortopher View Post
      That's precisely it, I have 4 or 5 devices synced to my account. All but one of them are mine (iPhone, iPad, and older models i just tinker with) so it doesn't matter for them, but I'd prefer keeping the devices linked to one account rather than having to purchase apps multiple times. It isn't a big deal, as I only have my little sis added to my account, but whenever I used to help my family with their devices, it's a pain in the *** dealing with 4 or 5 different accounts and what apps are authorized for each device/account.


      On an entirely different note, I wish Apple would identify already purchased apps. There's a number of apps I've installed in the past but could not recall whether I had used the lite/free version or if I had bought the full version. There doesn't have to be a list of purchased apps or anything (though that'd be nice), but rather simply having the "Install" button identify if the app had been purchased already or not.
      I agree. It sucks browsing back through your passed purchase history to see if you had an app or not.
    1. klipsch's Avatar
      klipsch -
      whats the source for " apple boot logo" in cydia?
      thanks.
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      Quote Originally Posted by klipsch View Post
      whats the source for " apple boot logo" in cydia?
      thanks.
      Why do you spam threads? GDIAF
    1. Mrteacup's Avatar
      Mrteacup -
      Quote Originally Posted by mortopher View Post
      Why do you spam threads? GDIAF
      Spam?? Also gdiaf? is it honestly that hard to write stuff out sorry I mean "agiihthtwso"? Why do people post lllooooonnnnggg abbreviations?
    1. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mrteacup View Post
      Spam?? Also gdiaf? is it honestly that hard to write stuff out sorry I mean "agiihthtwso"? Why do people post lllooooonnnnggg abbreviations?
      Go Die In A Field.

      Could be wrong, but it works in context with his post...

      OH! And there's a search feature to find threads related to what you're looking for, it works great, try it. Then, pyhooya.


      Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mrteacup View Post
      Spam?? Also gdiaf? is it honestly that hard to write stuff out sorry I mean "agiihthtwso"? Why do people post lllooooonnnnggg abbreviations?
      Spam 
      noun, verb, spammed, spam·ming.
      1. Trademark . a canned food product consisting especially of pork formed into a solid block.
      –noun
      2. (lowercase) disruptive messages, especially commercial messages posted on a computer network or sent as e-mail.
      There, I even spared you the hassle of having to use that horrific search function.

      Spam | Define Spam at Dictionary.com
    1. Mrteacup's Avatar
      Mrteacup -
      Quote Originally Posted by mortopher View Post
      There, I even spared you the hassle of having to use that horrific search function.

      Spam | Define Spam at Dictionary.com
      Obliviously I know what spam is I'm asking how the hell thats spam