Congress V. Smurfs

A group of congressmen are asking the FTC to look into whether iPhone apps geared to kids are deceptively shaking the little ones down for cash. The concern is that “free” apps featuring such attractive characters as the Smurfs contain offers to buy app related items. Although purchases cannot be made without a password, apparently advocacy groups contend that safeguards aren’t strong enough o prevent kids from inserting the passwords. Apparently, the prices aren’t inconsequential. A barrel of Smurfberries goes for $99. One of the congressmen called the apps “online ATMs, pulling money from the pockets of unsuspecting parents.” We’ll see what happens. Although this piece presents an interesting counterpoint.