Maybe, so what the hell happened here? Let’s go through how iTunes works shall we? The iTunes App Store is happy to save your credit card information for you – as it should. When I want to purchase something from the App Store it asks you for your password before completing the purchase. Perfectly acceptable. The interesting thing is that you also must supply your password for free applications so, when I downloaded FarmVille for the kid I put the password in to start the download. Here’s a picture of the iTunes store asking for my password:
But now that the application is on my machine – if I want to purchase something from INSIDE THE APPLICATION – what does it ask me? For a password? Nope. As you can see from the screenshot below it only asks you to “Confirm” that you want to buy.
I’m using Tap Tap Revenge as an example here because I want to stay away from FarmVille on my phone. The purchase flow works the same way though. (What? Lady GaGa? It’s for my kids, really, not me).
So what happened here is that by installing a free application on my phone for my kid to play with I opened up a world in which he can spend as much money as he desires without ever knowing a password, a credit card number or the fact that his father will now have to build and publicize a website simply to get his money back.
In case you’re wondering here is the cartoon friendly screen you need to access to ruin your parent’s credit score. Now click that “Buy” button three times fast will ya?