March 1st 2013

A news item today announced that a five year old boy from Bristol had shocked his parents rigid by running up a bill of about £1700 on their mobile iPad playing one of those silly games on the internet.

According to the news item the game had said it was free and so the boy’s dad organised the game to download for his son.

But the Dad later found out that a charge of £1700 had been incurred for the ‘purchase of bombs and things’. The ITV journalist covering the story hadn’t bothered to tell the real story, instead just focussing on the cute little five year old and a bemused father as though it was all the fault of the cute five year old and how generous the Apple Computer people were because they had promised to pay the bill for the parents and so no real harm had been done.

It didn’t seem to occur to the journalist that it might seem a bit odd for Apple Computers, who also made the iPad used to download this silly game from the internet, to want to pay for this. What could their motive be, I wondered on behalf of the rather lazy TV journalist who clearly hadn’t done any wondering herself !

The real story, of course, is that this is an example of the endless fraud the internet has enabled and it was in the direct interests of Apple to try and brush it under the carpet.

Make no mistake. It is a fraud to seductively say a game is free and then hide any details about paying for parts of the game so they are difficult to find or to see. Fraud similar to this is utterly rampant on the internet. People are conned all the time in many different ways by the deliberately devious design of web pages and various types of software.

It is obviously a fraud too, to charge such ludicrously high fees for just silly bits of software that provide you with a little bomb shaped picture to throw at some other little picture in a game on a computer screen.

Yes, that’s right; it is a fraud and I think a criminal fraud and what is needed is for those parents of that little five year old boy is to take those fraudulent rip-off merchants of that lousy, cheap little mindless computer game to court for criminal fraud, or theft or possibly criminal ‘conversion’ ( a different legal concept of theft).

Something really needs to be done about it. My first reaction was there ought to be some sort of legislation; but then I thought perhaps it just needs a few people to bring specific cases of deception and fraud to court to establish precedent and make other people understand they can do the same.

One things is clear. Something does have to be done about things like this . The internet is like the lawless Wild West in the 1800’s ; full of rogues and thieves. !


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