Bad vibes: Sex-toy maker ordered to compensate customers after tracking user data without consent

After selling a ‘smart vibrator’ that tracked owners’ use without their knowledge, sex-toy manufacturer We-Vibe has been ordered to compensate customers who bought or used its product.

After a class-action lawsuit in Illinois, We-Vibe’s parent company Standard Innovation will pay up to $10,00 each to customers who used the product alongside its associated app. Those who only bought the device can claim up to $199.

The product is a Bluetooth connected vibrator that can be controlled using a partner app and smartphone.

However, lawsuits were launched against company stating the they were collecting and transmitting sensitive information from users without their knowledge or consent.

More so, in 2016 The Guardian reported that at the Def Con Hacking conference in Las Vegas, two hackers spoke about the ease in which the device could be hacked. The hackers, who go by the handles Goldfisk and Follower, stated that the vibrator and its app aren’t very secure at all – making it possible for the app to be remotely activated by an intruder.

During their talk Follower stated that: “The company that makes this vibrator, Standard Innovation: They have over 2 million people using their devices, so what’s at stake is 2 million people. A lot of people in the past have said it’s not really a serious issue, but if you come back to the fact that we’re talking about people, unwanted activation of a vibrator is potentially sexual assault.”

The lawsuit filed against the company claimed the app collects data such as the date, time and vibration settings of each use of the vibrator – collecting information of users’ sex lives without consent.

About the lawsuit Standard Innovation said: “At Standard Innovation we take customer privacy and data security seriously. We have enhanced our privacy notice, increased app security, provided customers with more choice in the data they share, and we continue to work with leading privacy and security experts to enhance the app. With this settlement, Standard Innovation can continue to focus on making new, innovative products for our customers.”


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