Summary: A remote-controlled vibrator line was accused of collecting extremely personal user data.
Imagine how mortifying it would be if a Sex Toy company monitored your usage and linked that behavior to your email address. Well, that’s what one vibrator maker allegedly did to its users, and on Monday, the company settled a class action lawsuit for $3.75 million. Talk about a climax!
Canadian company Standard Innovation manufactures We-Vibe, a line of vibrators that can be controlled with a Bluetooth remote. The vibrator is linked to a smartphone app called “We Connect” that allows its horny users to change up the toy’s patterns and rhythms, and the technology enables anyone from around the world to have fun with a long distance partner.
All of that sounded fine and good, but critics have raised concern since 2014 that the sex toy was vulnerable to hacking and that the company was able to track users’ sex lives. In the class action lawsuit filed in September, plaintiffs alleged that the app was designed to collect user data about how often the vibrator was used and on what setting. Additionally, the app collected users’ email addresses which allowed it to link usage data to actual customer accounts.
In the settlement that was finalized on Monday, Standard Innovations said that its users “consented” to the collection of data, a claim that the plaintiffs specifically refute, but it decided to settle instead of battling the lawsuit in court. It did not admit to any wrongdoing.
Almost 300,000 people purchased a remote-enabled WeVibe, and almost 100,000 of them used the app. The settlement stated that anyone who bought an app-enabled WeVibe can collect up to $199 and anyone who actually had their data collected can receive up to $10,000. The actual pay out is dependent on how many people file claims.
As part of the agreement, Standard Innovation has also said it would stop collecting email addresses and that it would modify its privacy notice to be more transparent.
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Photo courtesy of New York Magazine
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