Father of the year

This is a story of a father who’s reported his son to the Police for fraud because he ran up a massive iTunes bill.

“I am sure Cameron had no intention to do it but I had to have a crime reference number if there was any chance of getting any credit card payments refunded.”

via This is Bristol / The Bristol Post. (By the way, I first saw this story in my local paper and I’m disgusted by other sites linking to the version on The Sun or even worse, The Daily Mail.)

My bullshit alarm is deafening.  I’m just going to pepper in some quotes from the Father:

“Morally I just don’t understand where Apple gets off charging for a child’s game.”

Ah yes, because makers of baby milk don’t charge either, and software developers don’t need to eat. Makes sense.

“I am sure Cameron had no intention to do it but I had to have a crime reference number if there was any chance of getting any credit card payments refunded.”

In app purchases never tell you they’re charging any money. Oh, except they always do, and they make you input your password as well. Oh, and they send you receipts. But apart from that, I’m sure there was no intent by his 13 year old son to buy the clearly labelled in app purchases that required password confirmation and sent receipts afterwards that also would have clearly stated the cost.

“None of us had any knowledge of what was happening as there was no indication in the game that he was being charged for any of the clicks made within the game.”

Ah yes, a few clicks.  Several of which would have been typing in the password and confirming the purchase, on multiple devices and in multiple apps.

“I just wanted to call Apple’s bluff,”

Indeed.  I hope people call your bluff.  This is clearly misreporting a crime.  Also, I’d refer you to the Apple UK iTunes Terms and Conditions:

As a registered user of the Service, you may establish an account (“Account”). Don’t reveal your Account information to anyone else. You are solely responsible for maintaining the confidentiality and security of your Account and for all activities that occur on or through your Account, and you agree to immediately notify iTunes of any security breach of your Account. iTunes shall not be responsible for any losses arising out of the unauthorised use of your Account.

In order to purchase and download iTunes Products from the Service, you must enter your Apple ID and password to authenticate your Account. Once you have authenticated your Account, you will not need to authenticate again for fifteen minutes. During this time, you will be able to purchase and download iTunes Products without re-entering your password. You can turn off the ability to make iTunes Product purchases by adjusting the settings on your computer or iOS Device.

So, has Mr Crossan revealed his account information to someone else, his son, therefore breaching the iTunes terms, or did he fail to report fraudulent activity to Apple?

I’ve included a fair bit of the Ts & Cs in the quote above because the second paragraph is telling.  It lays out the conditions under which a password is required.  Essentially, unless Mr Crossan’s son made £3,700 in purchases in 15 minutes, he would have had to have entered his password multiple times.  And if he did make all those purchases in a 15 minute period, it’s clear that he was aware of the restrictions and made all those purchases as quickly as possible in order to ger around the limitations Apple puts in place to protect people from situations such as this.  And that’s not behaving in an innocent way.