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Apple grasses Google to the FTC over kids’ in-app purchases

Claims firm let children spend 'like a drunken sailor' on in-app crap
Thu Jul 10 2014, 12:48

APPLE REPORTEDLY has dropped a dime on Google to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), claiming that it allows kids to make in-app purchases without the permission of their parents.

After the firm was scolded and fined over its own in-app practices earlier this year, Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell reportedly wrote to the FTC to tip it off about Google's bad in-app habits, claiming that the firm allows a child to make in-app purchases for up to 30 minutes after an adult had entered a password.

"I thought this article might be of some interest, particularly if you have not already seen it," the letter seen by Politico read, with Sewell adding that Google allowed children out of sight of their parents to "spend like a drunken sailor".

The FTC has yet to comment on the letter, but the leak suggests that Google could be about to come under the commission's scrutiny much like Amazon was recently, and that it could face a fine like that handed to Apple.

That happened in January, with the FTC scolding Apple, and handing it a $32.5m fine, for allowing kids to download in-app purchases without their parents' permission, relating to a time when tapping in your Apple password would open a 15-minute window of in-app spending opportunity.

While Apple has since changed this so that users have to enter their password every time they buy in-app crap, the FTC ruled "you cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorise" and ordered Apple to pay back $34.5m to those affected.

FTC chair Edith Ramirez said at the time, "This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple's unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you're doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply."

Neither Apple or Google have commented on the report. µ


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