As in-app purchases have become a more popular way for developers to monetize their apps, it’s become more common for children to make those purchases. A loophole that provides a 15-minute window where iTunes log-ins aren’t required to make purchases has turned this into a problem for iOS apps. In one case, a young girl bought $1,400 dollars worth of “Smurfberries” without her parents knowing.
Now Democratic Congressman Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into app marketing practices. “Companies shouldn’t be able to use smurfs and snowflakes and zoos as online ATMs, pulling money from the pockets of unsuspecting parents,” Markey said. “The use of mobile apps will continue to escalate, which is why it is critical that more is done now to examine these practices. I will continue to closely monitor this issue and look forward to the FTC’s response.”