A sex toy designed for couples to use remotely while apart from one another has been spying on the users and collecting data about the frequency of their remote sexual encounters with their vibrators. The makers of the We-Vibe vibrators will now pay those unsuspecting people whom they collected data from up to $10,000 a piece.
If you were one of the people who purchased the product but never used the app, then it looks as though you may be entitled to $199 as a part of this settlement. The company was facing a lawsuit, but came to an agreement with the court to dish out the total of $3.75 million among the folks who purchased and used the device. The company feels it was a fair settlement they’ve offered.
It was an Illinois woman who first filed a lawsuit against the Standard Innovation Company, the makers of the We-Vibe sex toy. She did this after learning the We-Vibe had the spying capability. It was also revealed at a hacking convention that the app was vulnerable to hackers.
If you purchased the We-Vibe and used the online app with it, then you may be in line for a piece of the $3.75 million settlement. What this sex toy did was upload the user’s “masturbatory habits to the cloud without consent,” reports CNET News.
Users of this app-enabled sex toy learned of the intimate information being uploaded to company’s servers without their knowledge when this lawsuit was revealed. Then at the Defcon Annual Hacking Convention it was revealed that a flaw in the software could allow a hacker to take over this app remotely, which would allow the hacker to control the vibrator. While there have been no reports of a hacker taking over the control of this sex toy, it was deemed a possibility.
Despite the company agreeing to pay this money to the people who purchased this sex toy, they maintain no wrongdoing, reports NPR News. The We-Vibe line of products offer a number of Bluetooth-enabled vibrators that can be controlled from a smartphone when using the We-Connect app.
This app allows your partner to control that vibrator remotely from just across the room or from faraway places anywhere in the world. It appears this is a technology that offers a step-up from the old-fashioned phone sex. The person controlling the vibrator has a choice of supplying different rhythms, patterns, and settings to the vibration of the device.
While concerns that the vibrators may be vulnerable to outside hacking have been heard from users in the past, this is not mentioned in the lawsuit. One of the main complaints about the data being collected was that the company didn’t just collect the data with the source remaining anonymous, but it also linked the usage of each vibrator to an email account.
Those who used the vibrators and who took part in the lawsuit stated they never gave the company permission to collect such personal data on their usage of the vibrator. As part of the settlement, the company that makes these spying vibrators has agreed to stop collecting the users’ email accounts and update their privacy notice to make it very clear about the data being collected and explain just how and why they do this.
These high-end vibrators cost between $119 and $199 each, which is quoted on the We-Vibe website. According to the court documents, about 300,000 people purchased these sex toys and about one-third of them, or 100,000, used the app via their smartphones. Those who used the app may have had their personal data collected and connected to their email account address for storage purposes.
The app was first released in 2014 and the court documents conveyed that it was designed to collect information about the specific settings you used on this vibrator and for how long you used it, along with its frequency of use, although the information it collected was deemed as “secure” by the company. As you can see in one of the Facebook posts above from two years ago, this is not anything new. Concerns about sex toys having the capability of spying on its user were brought up before regarding the technology collecting data via the apps.
[Featured Image by Julie Jacobson/AP Images]