In 2011, both of Minnesota’s Senators have called for change in mobile device practices. Following is a recap of their efforts along with best practices for Minnesota companies operating in the space.
On February 8, Senator Amy Klobuchar sent a letter to the FTC, urging greater scrutiny of “in-app sales” where she called for transparency in the “billing practice that holds the potential for consumer confusion.” Her letter was on the heels of several critical media reports, including a notable Washington Post article. The issue was that Apple did not require reentry of a user password for fifteen minutes after an application was downloaded; in those fifteen minutes kids were making multiple in-app purchases, reportedly in some instances totaling as much as $1,400.
On March 9, Apple released an update to its mobile operating system that required password reentry after download for in-app purchases (but it maintained the 15 minute window). Thus, users can make purchases prior to a requirement of password reentry. In response, Senator Klobuchar released a statement on March 11, commending “this common sense safeguard” though she caveated her statement by saying “we can still do more to eliminate outrageous charges.”