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AppleがFTCと示談へ: 親が承認しなかった子どものアプリ内購入は全額返金, 親への事前説明を義務付け

Appleは、iOSアプリケーションのアプリ内購入システムをめぐる事案に関し、FTCとの和解(示談)に達した。Tim Cookが社員に送った書簡を9to5Macが入手して公開したが、その中で経緯が説明されている。FTCも今朝、某大手テクノロジ企業との和解について声名を発表しているが、CNBCも入手したCookの書簡の方が合意の性質についてより詳細に説明している。

書簡の全文を下に引用するが、Tim Cookの説明によると、Appleから見るとFTCの申し立て(告訴内容)は、憲法が禁じている同一の訴件に対する二重の提訴*に該当する。なぜならアプリ内購入の問題は、Appleが全額返金に合意したこの前の一般市民からの訴件と同一だからである。そのときは複数の親たちが、子どもたちが行ったアプリ内購入の返金を求めていた。しかし同社は、FTCとの係争をこれ以上続けることは、あまりにも長期にわたりすぎるし、業務に支障を来すと判断した。また彼によると、AppleへのFTCの要求は、Apple自身が最初から考えていたことを、何一つ上回るものではない。〔*: double jeopardy, 二重の危険。〕

今回のFTCとの合意によると、親に無断で子どもたちがアプリ内購入で支払った額の弁済としてAppleは、少なくとも3250万ドルを払うことになる。WSJはそう報じている

さらにFTCはAppleに対して、App Storeの“15分の窓”(それを過ぎたらパスワード不要で子どもが好き放題できる)について事前に親に伝えることを求めている。ということは、これからは同社のすべてのソフトウェアが冒頭でこのルールを説明しなければならないことになる。〔親が最初にパスワードを入力してから15分以内に、アカウント保有者である親がアプリ内購入禁止などのオプトアウトを指定しなかったら、その後、子どもたちが際限もなく大金を費消することもありえる。〕

FTCがその記者会見で説明したところによると、今後Appleは率先して、アプリ内購入のあるすべてのアプリに、警告の実装を義務付ける。それは、告訴が対象としている子ども向けアプリに限定されない。文字通り、‘すべての’アプリだ。

そのほかAppleは、親の承認なく子どもが被った課金を不服としているかもしれない親に、返金の求め方を説明したメールを送らなければならない。つまり、自分の子がSmurfberriesで20万ドル使ってしまった親は、これから毎日、メールの着信に注意した方がよいね。

この和解内容に関する広聴期間は2月14日までだ。それまでに送られてきた一般からの意見も勘案してFTCは、Appleに対する最終命令書を策定する。それには、上記のような要求が含まれることになる。なお、15分の窓に関する注意書きは、iOSのソフトウェアに今年の3月までに現れなければならない。

以下が、Tim Cookから全社員宛の書簡の全文だ:
[以下、英文ママ]

Team,

I want to let you know that Apple has entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. We have been negotiating with the FTC for several months over disclosures about the in-app purchase feature of the App Store, because younger customers have sometimes been able to make purchases without their parents’ consent. I know this announcement will come as a surprise to many of you since Apple has led the industry by making the App Store a safe place for customers of all ages.

From the very beginning, protecting children has been a top priority for the App Store team and everyone at Apple. The store is thoughtfully curated, and we hold app developers to Apple’s own high standards of security, privacy, usefulness and decency, among others. The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable, and we’ve continued to add ways for parents to protect their children. These controls go far beyond the features of other mobile device and OS makers, most of whom don’t even review the apps they sell to children.

When we introduced in-app purchases in 2009, we proactively offered parents a way to disable the function with a single switch. When in-app purchases were enabled and a password was entered to download an app, the App Store allowed purchases for 15 minutes without requiring a password. The 15-minute window had been there since the launch of the App Store in 2008 and was aimed at making the App Store easy to use, but some younger customers discovered that it also allowed them to make in-app purchases without a parent’s approval.

We heard from some customers with children that it was too easy to make in-app purchases, so we moved quickly to make improvements. We even created additional steps in the purchasing process, because these steps are so helpful to parents.

Last year, we set out to refund any in-app purchase which may have been made without a parent’s permission. We wanted to reach every customer who might have been affected, so we sent emails to 28 million App Store customers – anyone who had made an in-app purchase in a game designed for kids. When some emails bounced, we mailed the parents postcards. In all, we received 37,000 claims and we will be reimbursing each one as promised.

A federal judge agreed with our actions as a full settlement and we felt we had made things right for everyone. Then, the FTC got involved and we faced the prospect of a second lawsuit over the very same issue.

It doesn’t feel right for the FTC to sue over a case that had already been settled. To us, it smacked of double jeopardy. However, the consent decree the FTC proposed does not require us to do anything we weren’t already going to do, so we decided to accept it rather than take on a long and distracting legal fight.

The App Store is one of Apple’s most important innovations, and it’s wildly popular with our customers around the world because they know they can trust Apple. You and your coworkers have helped Apple earn that trust, which we value and respect above all else.

Apple is a company full of disruptive ideas and innovative people, who are also committed to upholding the highest moral, legal and ethical standards in everything we do. As I’ve said before, we believe technology can serve humankind’s deepest values and highest aspirations. As Apple continues to grow, there will inevitably be scrutiny and criticism along our journey. We don’t shy away from these kinds of questions, because we are confident in the integrity of our company and our coworkers.

Thank you for the hard work you do to delight our customers, and for showing them at every turn that Apple is worthy of their trust.

Tim

[原文へ]
(翻訳:iwatani(a.k.a. hiwa))

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