Apple Settles With Federal Trade Commission Regarding App Store In-App Purchases

Apple Settles With Federal Trade Commission Regarding App Store In-App Purchases

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According to an internal letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has reached an agreement with the FTC over in-app purchases for App Store applications. The company will be refunding more than 37,000 in-app purchases that parents have claimed their children have made -- paying a minimum of $32.5 million.

Team,
I want to let you know that Apple has entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. We have been negotiating with the FTC for several months over disclosures about the in-app purchase feature of the App Store, because younger customers have sometimes been able to make purchases without their parents’ consent. I know this announcement will come as a surprise to many of you since Apple has led the industry by making the App Store a safe place for customers of all ages.

From the very beginning, protecting children has been a top priority for the App Store team and everyone at Apple. The store is thoughtfully curated, and we hold app developers to Apple’s own high standards of security, privacy, usefulness and decency, among others. The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable, and we’ve continued to add ways for parents to protect their children. These controls go far beyond the features of other mobile device and OS makers, most of whom don’t even review the apps they sell to children.

When we introduced in-app purchases in 2009, we proactively offered parents a way to disable the function with a single switch. When in-app purchases were enabled and a password was entered to download an app, the App Store allowed purchases for 15 minutes without requiring a password. The 15-minute window had been there since the launch of the App Store in 2008 and was aimed at making the App Store easy to use, but some younger customers discovered that it also allowed them to make in-app purchases without a parent’s approval.

We heard from some customers with children that it was too easy to make in-app purchases, so we moved quickly to make improvements. We even created additional steps in the purchasing process, because these steps are so helpful to parents.

Last year, we set out to refund any in-app purchase which may have been made without a parent’s permission. We wanted to reach every customer who might have been affected, so we sent emails to 28 million App Store customers – anyone who had made an in-app purchase in a game designed for kids. When some emails bounced, we mailed the parents postcards. In all, we received 37,000 claims and we will be reimbursing each one as promised.

A federal judge agreed with our actions as a full settlement and we felt we had made things right for everyone. Then, the FTC got involved and we faced the prospect of a second lawsuit over the very same issue.

It doesn’t feel right for the FTC to sue over a case that had already been settled. To us, it smacked of double jeopardy. However, the consent decree the FTC proposed does not require us to do anything we weren’t already going to do, so we decided to accept it rather than take on a long and distracting legal fight.

The App Store is one of Apple’s most important innovations, and it’s wildly popular with our customers around the world because they know they can trust Apple. You and your coworkers have helped Apple earn that trust, which we value and respect above all else.

Apple is a company full of disruptive ideas and innovative people, who are also committed to upholding the highest moral, legal and ethical standards in everything we do. As I’ve said before, we believe technology can serve humankind’s deepest values and highest aspirations. As Apple continues to grow, there will inevitably be scrutiny and criticism along our journey. We don’t shy away from these kinds of questions, because we are confident in the integrity of our company and our coworkers.

Thank you for the hard work you do to delight our customers, and for showing them at every turn that Apple is worthy of their trust.

Tim


We expect more information from the press conference later today.

via 9to5mac

Apple Settles With Federal Trade Commission Regarding App Store In-App Purchases
Russell - January 16, 2014 at 1:40am
"From the very beginning, protecting children has been a top priority for the App Store team and everyone at Apple. The store is thoughtfully curated, and we hold app developers to Apple’s own high standards of security, privacy, usefulness and decency, among others."

What does that have to do with preventing unauthorized app or in-app purchases?
Nat - January 16, 2014 at 2:06am
Maybe "usefulness" is taken in that literal term.
Fukran John - January 15, 2014 at 5:37pm
0.99 refunds. Nice game by apple to impress people. They clearly know noone wants this 99 cents. Just to impress and fool the people. ISheeps will celebrate this without knowing the fact. lol
Fukjohn Rah - January 15, 2014 at 5:39pm
No refunds with Google gay store yet, always waiting a step behind to keep alive from apple and samsheeps act like blondes to have fun with it...ROFL
Kr00 - January 15, 2014 at 9:12pm
You're obviously a retard just like the dumbasses who give their kids unsupervised access to their devices. Now go back to jerking off over your fandroid bloated piece of shit.
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