Fresh Off The Block


Jun
24
2013

Parents now allowed to claim compensation for in-app purchases targeted to their children

After a legal battle lasting several months, on Febuary last year Apple lost a landmark case filed by parents across the United States, which claimed iOS Apps targeted to younger children were often including downloadable content or extra features that required in-app purchases to unlock; for which the apps were actively encouraging the children to purchase the extra content without adequately explaining that they cost actual money. Many of the children were of too young age to understand the concept of in-app purchasing; and the claim by parents that Apple did not offer enough protections to prevent unauthorised purchases by the children of parents who owned iOS devices or explain that they were about to actually purchase items with real money was upheld in court.

As per the terms of the settlement, Apple were instructed to offer parents worldwide the ability to make claims as individuals for compensation as a result of the negligent practices. Today, Apple sent an email to the press announcing that they will now accept compensation claims made directly to the company from individual parents who have been affected by this case.

Parents can claim for the total cost of any string of in-app purchases made within 45 days of each other, up to the date where Apple implemented repeat password requests or disclaimers to counteract such activity. Of course, there IS a catch: Claims for under $30 will qualify only for a $5 iTunes Voucher as compensation; however, larger transactions may have the total of all valid disputed transactions refunded as cash. What's more, there's a deadline of January 13th, 2014 for at least some types of claim.

Were you affected by this case? Or do you have an opinion on Apple's compensation strategy? Leave your thoughts in our comments!

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    Previous Articles


    Jun
    22
    2012

    Apple fined US$2.29 mln over Australian iPad’s inaccurate ‘4G’ claims

    Apple has been fined Aus$2.25 million (US$2.29 million) for "deliberately" misleading Australian consumers about the local 4G capability of its latest iPad.

    The tech giant was also ordered to pay Aus$300,000 in costs by the Federal Court in a case brought by regulators, who said the penalty sent a message to global companies that there were consequences for breaching the law.

    Justice Mordy Bromberg found that Apple misled people with claims in its advertising implying that the "iPad with WiFi + 4G" could connect with fourth generation cellular networks in Australia, when it could not.

    The judgment ruled that the company engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public and contravened Australian consumer law.

    "The conduct concerned was deliberate and very serious," Bromberg said on Thursday.

    "It exposed a significant proportion of Australian consumers of tablet devices to a misleading representation."

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which initiated the proceedings, said it was delighted with the outcome.

    "The $2.25 million penalty reflects the seriousness of a company the size of Apple refusing to change its advertising when it has been put on notice that it is likely to be misleading consumers," chairman Rod Sims said.

    "This decision should act as a renewed warning that the ACCC will continue to take action against traders who take risks in their advertising, regardless of their size."

    Apple offered in March to refund customers who felt they had been duped, and to publish a clarification about the popular tablet's capabilities.

    The product is now advertised outside North America as "Wi-Fi + Cellular" — a change that came into effect on May 12 — with a clear caveat on its Australian site that "it is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE and WiMax networks."

    The iPad's 4G capabilities are supported by some networks in the US and Canada.

    Matthew Rimmer, an expert in intellectual property at the Australian National University, said Apple had been "careless".

    "It shows some of the dangers involved in overhyping products and sets a very important precedent," he said, adding that other countries would take note of the outcome.

    Asked if it could open the floodgates to similar law suits elsewhere, he said: "It all depends on the nature of consumer regulations in each country."

    Earlier this month, Apple agreed to settle the case with the ACCC.

    But Bromberg delayed an official ruling until he had details on how many iPads had been sold and were returned under the refund offer and further information on Apple's financial position.

    He said Thursday the risk of contravening Australian consumer law would have been "reasonably obvious" to Apple.

    "In that context, and in the absence of any other explanation, the facts to which I have just referred suggest that Apple's desire for global uniformity was given a greater priority than the need to ensure compliance with the Australian consumer law," he said.

    "Conduct of that kind is serious and unacceptable."

    The iPad was the world's best-selling tablet in the first three months of 2012, outgunning its Android-powered rivals, with sales more than doubling from a year earlier to send Apple's profits soaring.

    Apple was not immediately available for comment.

    [Via Yahoo News]

    Jan
    09
    2011

    US wants Twitter data of “Wikileaks activists”

    Ever since Wikileaks caused drama by leaking United States diplomatic cables – something I’m sure most people have heard about by now, and if not just look it up on the net – the US government has started an investigation to try to bring Wikileaks “to justice”. I put “to justice” in quotes not because I am taking the side of Wikileaks (I am neither pro or anti Wikileaks), but rather because not everyone agrees on this matter.

    Anyway, apparently as part of this investigation, the US Attorney’s office has convinced a District Court judge data held by Twitter is “relevant and material to [the] ongoing criminal investigation”; as a result, Twitter was earlier in the year served a subpoena, and now is forced to give over data related to various Twitter accounts believed to be related to either Julian Assange (the founder of Wikileaks) or Wikileaks itself – including Julian Assange’s own Twitter, plus those of Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic MP; and Bradley E. Manning, a militant supposedly responsible for the leaking of some of the cables; among others.

    The reason we are aware of this subpoena is because Twitter was recently able to overturn a gagging order originally served with it. A gagging order prevents a person from revealing information under penalty of law. After getting the gag, Twitter fought back and successfully got the gagging order lifted; so Twitter is now legally allowed to let the public – and the respective account holders – know about the US Attorney’s Office’s demand to hand over data.

    According to the BBC, the data demanded from Twitter by the US Attorney’s office includes “mailing addresses and billing information, connection records and session times, IP addresses used to access Twitter, email accounts, as well as the ‘means and source of payment'”.

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Feel free to discuss in the comments below (consider this an open politics discussion thread), but keep it civil.

    [Many thanks to BBC News for breaking this news!]

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2011
    Nov
    03
    2010

    Google Settles Class-Action Lawsuit regarding Buzz

    In February 2010, Google launched a social add-on to its Gmail web mail service, dubbed “Google Buzz”. Buzz is a social networking and messaging tool that Google made to be used with its Gmail e-mail service, and is similar to Twitter in style and function. However, the launch was mired in controversy after default settings in the Buzz service led to many users being automatically enrolled in Buzz, and were also automatically opted-in to allow the service to reveal data about you publicly – including users’ most frequent Gmail contacts – without enough user consent.

    Many people threatened to sue Google for the damage this caused to people’s privacy, and a class-action lawsuit against Google was officially filed not long after, alleging that Google instigated a serious privacy breach. Now, Google has proposed a settlement which, if approved by the judges, will see the end of this case and a moral victory for all the users potentially affected.

    Google has lately emailed all its GMail users to explain the consequences on the suit, so we’ll let Google explain what this suit means for the users:

    Important Information about Google Buzz Class Action Settlement

    Google Buzz <noreply-buzz-classaction@google.com> 2 November 2010 19:30

    Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we’ve reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz (http://buzz.google.com), a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.

    Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.

    The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users’ concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.

    Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at http://www.BuzzClassAction.com.

    Although the case relates only to users of GMail in the U.S., Google Buzz is available to GMail users worldwide, so this is effectively a victory for every user of GMail around the globe who may have had their privacy breached. Sadly, it is only a moral victory – as mentioned in Google’s statement, no compensation is going to be given to the users, but instead money will be paid to privacy-protection organisations. It may also interest some that the $8.5 million proposed settlement (roughly £5.27 million British Sterling under the current exchange rate) makes up only 0.1% of Google’s estimated revenue, so is really just pennies to them. This, of course, is assuming that the proposed settlement is actually accepted – though there is not yet reason to believe it won’t be.

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2010
    Oct
    02
    2010

    Microsoft looking to sue Motorola over Android Phones

    Microsoft is suing Motorola alleging it has infringed nine patents in its Android phones, in that certain functions of said phones – including but not limited to synchronizing e-mail, calendars and contacts – are based on Microsoft technology.

    Microsoft said Motorola licensed some of its mobile technology from 2003 to 2007 but continued to use the technology without renewing the license. So they have now filed a lawsuit in a federal court as well as filing one with the International Trade Commission.

    Its court filing specifically mentions the Motorola Droid 2 and the Motorola Charm smart phones, but Microsoft claims that the infringements were not limited to those devices.

    A Motorola spokeswoman said the company has not yet received a copy of the suit, but based on its strong intellectual property portfolio, plans to “vigorously defend itself”.

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2010