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Google Updates App Purchase Requirements; Faces Lawsuit

18 Mar, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

Facing a lawsuit over the ability of children to run up in-app purchases without entering a password, Google has updated its Google Play app to address the issue.

Now users of Google Play can opt to have their password required for every app or in-app purchase, where previously Google Play would only ask for a password 30 minutes after it had last been entered.

Google March 7 was hit with a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, accusing the company of making it too easy for children to rack up in-app purchases. A New York mother brought the suit, after one of her children racked up nearly $70 in-game currency for a gaming app.

“Once the account holder enters the password, he or she could make purchases for up to 30 minutes without reentering the password,” the suit reads. “Thus, a parent could enter his or her password to permit a child to download a free gaming app, and then allow the child to download and play the game. What Google did not tell parents, however, is that their child was then able to purchase game currency for 30 minutes without any supervision, oversight or authorization.”

The suit follows a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint against Apple for similar issues, where children were making in-app purchases without their parents’ knowledge. Apple agreed to a $32.5 million settlement and changed its in-app password policies.

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