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FTC says Apple's gotta pay for your kids' in-app purchases

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In my day, when a kid spent his parents' money when he wasn't supposed to, a form of indentured servitude ensued to pay off the debt. These days, courtrooms and federal agencies are the parentally-preferred sources of remuneration. Today, Apple settled up with the FTC over a complaint filed by the Commission many moons ago regarding in-app purchases made by children without mom or dad's consent.

Why should you care? In truth, you shouldn't. See, Apple already went to court over this very issue, and agreed to refund these unwitting customers hoodwinked by their genetic spawn months ago at the conclusion of a class-action lawsuit. Thing is, the FTC complaint is separate from that lawsuit, despite the fact that it concerns the very same issues -- today's announcement merely tidies things up by putting the issue finally and completely to rest.

The outcome of both settlements is that Apple modifies its billing practices to get express, informed consent before allowing in-app purchases, and allow that consent to be withdrawn at any time before the end of March. Additionally, Apple's gotta refund at least $32.5 million dollars to affected customers, and should it send out less money in settlements, then the difference will be paid to the FTC. Apple's not so keen on the FTC's announcement, but an internal memo from Tim Cook obtained by Recode confirms that this settlement with the Commission is entirely duplicative of Apple's ongoing lawsuit settlement efforts. Gotta love governmental redundancy, right?

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