Whether it's your phone, your laptop, your watch, your TV, or your car – if it's connected to the Internet, there's a chance of a privacy or security breach. That's also true for a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled sex toy.
Last month two hackers at the DEF CON 24 Hacking Conference suggested that the We-Vibe 4 Plus sex toy, made by Standard Innovation Corporation, is able to record and transmit data of an intimate nature to the company in real-time.
Now, it’s been revealed that an Illinois woman has taken the smart sex toy company to court after it had allegedly collected this “private usage information” from her device, Courthouse News Service reports. She reportedly is seeking an injunction and compensation based on the company's alleged “disregard for consumer privacy rights” and violation of “numerous state and federal laws.”
The We-Vibe 4 Plus vibrator allows users to connect their sex toy with their smartphone through both Bluetooth and the Internet. Using the We-Connect app, you can adjust settings, including different vibrations such as “pulse”, “waves”, “echo”, “bounce”, and “Cha-Cha-Cha”. It also allows partners to control some of these settings remotely through the Internet.
According to the court report, the complaint said the device transmitted information "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."
We-Vibe has released a statement in response to the allegations made by the hackers at DEF CON, saying that customers can use the vibrator and app without providing name, address, or creating an account. Nevertheless, they are reviewing their data collecting practices with the help of external privacy and data-security experts.
They continued to say: “We do collect certain limited data to help us improve our products and for diagnostic purposes. As a matter of practice, we use this data in an aggregate, non-identifiable form… Vibration intensity data is used for the purposes of helping us better understand how –in the aggregate – our product features are utilized.”
Considering the amount of information that is handed over through many popular smartphones apps, this use of data is perhaps nothing unusual. The problem is that the app is, obviously, of a “private matter”. Nevertheless, it serves as a reminder of how it's always important to be attentive with your private data in this all-connected world.