FTC to probe Apple for in-app purchases?

by on February 22, 2011 · 2 comments

FTC Chairman says will probe Apple in-app purchases for marketing practices: http://wapo.st/fX3uWnless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

*The Washington Post’s* [Cecilia Kang](http://voices.washingtonpost.com/posttech/2011/02/ftc_chairman_to_probe_apple_ip.html) reports that the FTC will probe Apple for in-app purchases marketing practices. According to Kang,

>FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz wrote in a letter to Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) that the practice of “in-app purchases” for certain applications on Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods raised concerns that consumers may not fully understand the ramifications of those charges. *The Washington Post* wrote about hefty charges amassed by children using Apple device games that public interest groups said should not be included in software geared for children. Some parents said their children didn’t understand the difference between real and pretend purchases for items such as $99 barrels of Smurfberries on the Capcom Interactive game Smurfs Village.

I’ll skip the question of whether it’s the proper role of the federal government to be a surrogate parent to children given iPhones by their real parents. Instead I’ll simply say that I don’t know how much easier we can expect Apple to make it for parents to supervise their children.

– **Passwords** All purchases on iOS devices require the user to enter a password before it can be completed. Don’t give your child the password and you don’t have to worry about charges.

– **Allowances** If you do want to allow your child to make purchases, but what to set some limits, Apple makes it easy to create an [iTunes allowance](http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2105) account that allows a parent to specify an amount that is added to a child’s account each month. Once the child uses the amount, he can’t spend any more.

What more do we want Apple to do?

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