Minnesota Senators’ consumer protection concerns signal changes for mobile devs

by Guest


By Hayden Creque, Creque Law

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.

The Timeline:

Amy Klobuchar Mobile Consumer ProtectionOn 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.”