When it comes to gadgets, few bonds are more sacred than the one shared by a sex toy and its user. Sadly, one Illinois woman claims her smartphone-connected vibrator betrayed that love, sending (extremely) personal data to Canadian dildo maker Standard Innovation.
In August, hackers at the Def Con security conference revealed that Standard Innovation’s We-Vibe smart vibrators transmitted user data—including heat level and vibration intensity—to the company in real time. In response, Standard Innovation confirmed that it collected “certain limited data” and pledged to make its terms and conditions clearer to consumers.
“As a matter of practice, we use this data in an aggregate, non-identifiable form,” said Standard Innovation in a statement. “Processor chip temperature is used to help us determine whether device processors are operating correctly. And vibration intensity data is used for the purposes of helping us better understand how—in the aggregate—our product features are utilized.”
At least one We-Vibe customer, however, found that explanation inadequate. According to Courthouse News, a woman identified as “N.P.” filed a class action lawsuit against Standard Innovation on September 2, accusing the company of demonstrating “a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights” and violating “numerous state and federal laws”:
Going only by her initials in the 18-page class action, N.P. says she bought herself a $130 We-Vibe from an Illinois retailer this past May.
She used it several times then but never realized “that We-Connect monitors and records, in real time, how they use the device,” according to the Sept. 2 complaint.
Standard Innovation likewise failed to mention, the complaint continues, “that it transmits the collected private usage information to its servers in Canada.”
N.P. says customers’ most “intimate details” are at stake, “including the date and time of each use, the vibration intensity level selected by the user, the vibration mode or pattern selected by the user, and incredibly, the email address of We-Vibe customers.”
While Standard Innovation claims to have to thoroughly protected its customers’ data, the existence of such a sensitive database at all highlights the security concerns raised by the internet of things. Especially when those things go up inside you.
UPDATE 9/13: Standard Innovation responded to Gizmodo’s request for comment with this statement:
At this time we have not been served and we cannot comment on rumor or speculation. Should we receive additional information, we will review it thoroughly and comment at the appropriate time.
There’s been no allegation that any of our customers’ data has been compromised. However, given the intimate nature of our products, the privacy and security of our customers’ data is of utmost importance to our company. Accordingly, we take concerns about customer privacy and our data practices seriously.
Over the course of the last few weeks, we have taken steps to further enhance the data security and privacy measures for our product offering. As part of this effort, we have engaged external security and privacy experts to conduct a thorough review of our data practices with a view of further strengthening data protection and privacy for our customers. We are also committed to better communicating our data practices.
We are updating the We-Connect app later this month, and the update will include new in-app communication regarding our privacy and data practices and a new feature for consumers to control how their data may be used.