Apple now requires a password for in-app purchases

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Old 17-Mar-2011
Apple now requires a password for in-app purchases

Last month we reported that Apple were in deep water over the way that their in-app purchases were handled. Multiple cases came to light from parents who had discovered that their children had been spending hundreds of dollars on in-app purchases in games such as Smurfs’ Village.
In an attempt to please the angry parents (and lets not forget the federal and state enforcement agencies who were pushing Apple to change it), Apple issued a statement yesterday revealing that it has changed how purchases can be made from within the applications that run on the iPad and the iPhone. They hope the changes will protect children from accidentally building up massive iTunes charges which occurred because there is a 15-minute period where the parents ID and password remains on the handset after initially entering it.
How long will you have to wait before you can see the fixes implemented? Well, if you have downloaded the latest iOS 4.3 update you already have them. Apple did not make a big fuss over this, but the new feature means that you will be required to enter a password when purchases are made from within an app after it has been downloaded. While this is great news for parents, some consumer protection experts are still saying that Apple’s latest fix will not be enough to calm the concerns of regulators and lawmakers.
One such individual is Linda Goldstein, who is the chair of the advertising and marketing division at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips law firm. She mentions that in-app purchases in general cut across many consumer protection issues: marketing to children and recurring charges to a non-traditional billing device being a couple of examples. In other words, she believes that mobile phones have in effect become the equivalent of a modern day credit card in the hands of children.

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