SEX

‘Smart’ Vibrator Privacy Lawsuit Awards Users Up To $10,000

Unbeknownst to users, the sex toy was collecting data on their usage habits

SEX
Standard Innovation
Mar 14, 2017 at 10:48 AM ET

A lawsuit concerning privacy violations of an internet-connected sex toy has reached its climax: The company responsible will pay customers $10,000 each for collecting intimate details on how and when they used the device.

Standard Innovation, maker of the We-Vibe vibrator, was first sued by an Illinois user after she found out the company was collecting data on her usage habits in September. This data, which was tied to her e-mail address, included temperature, which customizable vibration settings she used, and how often she used it. Two presenters at the Def Con hacking convention also found that the app could potentially be remotely controlled by malicious actors within range of the device.

After agreeing to settle the class action lawsuit she filed in December, the company will now be paying up to $10,000 for each customer who chose to connect the vibrator with the web-based application for a customized experience and “bonus” vibration patterns before September 26. Since users are not required to connect the device to the app for standard use, those who bought the product but did not hook it up to the internet are eligible for $199 payouts.

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In addition to allotting a total of $2.9 million to the plaintiff and other affected users, the settlement also included language dictating that data should be collected anonymously, if at all, and other best privacy practices. Even before the lawsuit was concluded, the company had updated its app and privacy notice. In an e-mail sent to Vocativ in January, a Standard Innovation representative noted that practices had been changed to allow for anonymous usage of We-Connect (the bluetooth enabled app), a plain language privacy policy, and the choice to opt-out of anonymous data collection.

“Throughout all the press coverage to date, we’ve seen no change in the number of We-Connect users,” the representative added.