The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been on a crusade as of late to save the world from in-app purchases, and that's probably an okay crusade on which to be. The news has come down today that Google will be settling an FTC lawsuit by refunding about $19 million in unauthorized in-app purchases made by kids whose parents foolishly allowed them to go tapping around on their Android devices.
The FTC says Google's Play Store/Android Market system has violated federal prohibitions on unfair commercial practices since 2011, which is when in-app purchases were added to Android. Until recently, it was possible to buy as much in-game content as you wanted with real money without inputting a password. The limited security settings were buried in the settings where most parents wouldn't have seen them. After the increased criticism of IAPs earlier this year, Google changed the way passwords work in the Play Store to make it harder for kids to spend real money without authorization.