This sex toy was tracking every user's pleasure

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Mar 15, 2017, 9:07 pm IST
Updated May 31, 2017, 1:14 pm IST
The We-Vibe line includes a number of Bluetooth controlled vibrators that can be controlled by a smartphone using an app.
Since the app was first launched in 2014, some observers have raised questions about the sex toy being connected to the internet and is vulnerable to hacking.
 Since the app was first launched in 2014, some observers have raised questions about the sex toy being connected to the internet and is vulnerable to hacking.

We-Vibe, a line of vibrators that can be connected with an app for remote control usage has reached a  $3.75 million class action settlement with users following allegations that the device was collecting data of how and when the sex toy was used.

Standard Innovations, the Canadian manufacturer of the We-Vibe, does not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement. The We-Vibe line includes a number of Bluetooth controlled vibrators that can be controlled by a smartphone using an app. It offers various rhythms, patterns and settings to the users.

Since the app was first launched in 2014, some observers have raised questions about the sex toy being connected to the internet and is vulnerable to hacking. But the lawsuit doesn’t involve any outside interference — instead it revolves around concerns that the company itself was tracking users' sex lives.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Illinois in September. It alleges that — without customers' knowledge — the app was designed to collect information about how often, and with what settings, the vibrator was used.

Customers' email addresses and usage data were transmitted to the company's Canadian servers, the lawsuit alleges. When a We-Vibe was remotely linked to a partner, the connection was described as "secure," but some information was also routed through We-Connect and collected, the lawsuit says.

The users alleges that they never agreed to the collection of their data. The company agreed to settle the matter instead of taking it to the court. Approximately 3,00,000 people bought Bluetooth-enabled WeVibes, according to court documents, and about 1,00,000 of them used the app.

Under the terms of the settlement, any user who bought the sex toy can receive up to $199 dollars; anyone who actually connected it to the app can collect up to $10,000. The amount paid out will depend on how many people file claims; the company estimates people who bought the app will get around $40, and people who used the app around $500.

The company also agreed to stop collecting users' email addresses and to update its privacy notice to be clearer about how data is collected.