The makers of a “smart” sex toy are being sued by a user who was unaware that pairing the device with an app on her smartphone could lead to the collection of personal data by the manufacturers.
The lawsuit was filed by an Illinois plaintiff identified in court documents as “N.P.” She’s looking to take on the Canadian company Standard Innovation, makers of the We-Vibe products and the We-Connect app, for allegedly “selling products that secretly collect and transmit highly sensitive personally identifiable information about the consumers using them.”
According to the company’s website, users can connect their sex toy with their smartphone and then invite their lover to connect via the app. “Touch the screen to control the vibrations and build intensity,” the site advises. “Swipe to change modes” and “pinch to adjust intensity.”
The app also recommends building excitement through the use of secure in-app voice, chat and video.
In a statement to GeekWire on Thursday, Standard Innovation said, in part, “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.”
The lawsuit alleges that Standard Innovation designed We-Connect to collect “highly intimate and sensitive data” regarding use of We-Vibe, including date and time of each use and selected vibration settings.
“N.P.” is concerned that transmission of that data to servers in Canada could pose a privacy and security risk. The complaint says that the plaintiff purchased the We-Vibe Rave brand vibrator for $130 and downloaded the We-Connect app to her phone shortly after. It says she never gave consent to the company to monitor, collect and transmit her usage information.
“Plaintiff would never have purchased a We-Vibe had she known” what the company would do with the data, the complaint says, as “N.P.” seeks damages in a jury trial.
Here is the full statement from Standard Innovation:
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.
Please refer to the We-Vibe blog for additional details.