Avant-Garde Sex Toys Caught in Data Dilemma
CHICAGO (CN) — Maybe some things should stay low-tech. Hauling her smartphone-paired vibrator to federal court, an Illinois woman says the makers of We-Vibe are keeping tabs on users' most intimate data.
On shelves from Ottawa-based Standard Innovation since 2014, We-Vibes can be connected to users' smartphones with help from the We-Connect app.
"Touch the screen to control the vibrations and build intensity," the vibrator's instructions say.
"Tease and please with custom vibes you create.
"Turn on your lover when you connect and play together from anywhere in the world.
"Build excitement with secure in-app voice, chat and video."
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."
As seen in screenshots from the complaint, vibration settings include standards sensations like pulse and wave, and some more exotic, like echo, peak and "cha cha cha."
Such data "is undoubtedly valuable to the company," N.P. continues, but she says Standard Innovation's "conduct demonstrates a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights and violated numerous state and federal laws."
Filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the five-count complaint asserts violations of the Federal Wiretap Act and Illinois Eavesdropping Statute; intrusion upon seclusion; unjust enrichment; and consumer fraud.
The class seeks an injunction and punitive damages. It is represented by Benjamin Richman with Edelson PC in Chicago.
Standard Innovation has not returned a request for comment.