Consumer Alert

Thousands of complaints about kids’ expensive bites of Apple’s “in-app purchases” draw attention from the FTC

It sounds so innocent: the Tap Pet Hotel app for kids. But one mother complained to the FTC that her child tapped up $2,600 of in-app purchases up while using the app. Other parents complained about unauthorized purchases by children of up to $500 for apps like Dragon Story and Tiny Zoo Friends. These, and

Consumer Tips: What to do about the NSA address book snooping

The Washington Post published new revelations from Edward Snowden’s leaked documents that revealed that the NSA is scooping up millions of email and IM address books globally. This is a serious piece of snooping business, and it deserves immediate attention on a policy level. For people who are reading this and wondering what you can do today, right now, here are some immediate steps to take.

WPF urges stakeholders to put the consumer first, focus on what is important

Mobile privacy — Mobile app privacy is the topic of the multistakeholder process to be undertaken this week under the direction of the US Department of Commerce. Over the weekend, a NYT article revealed that mobile carriers received more than 1.3 million requests by law enforcement for mobile data, including requests for text messages. This article is a focusing event. It is a reminder that in mobile privacy we need to put the consumer first, focus on what is important, and apply responsibility for privacy and transparency throughout the hierarchy of mobile players, from carriers to platforms to app stores to publishers to developers. It is unclear yet what segments of the hierarchy require what amounts of the burden, but what is clear is that carriers will certainly need to do a lot. It is also clear that the idea of just an icon on a screen to communicate the idea of mobile privacy to consumers is a band-aid approach at best when faced with the truth of where some of the real risks are for consumers.