Company Accused of Spying on Customers Via Sex Toys

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A technology company selling vibrators uses a mobile application to spy on its customers in their most intimate moments, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Northern California on Wednesday.

An anonymous customer of Lovense, a sex technology company based in Hong Kong, accused the company of using its technology to spy on customers, collecting information about the date, time and length of usage of the vibrators and storing it on servers along with private email information.

“Though the data collected from its customers’ smartphones is undoubtedly valuable to the company, defendant’s conduct demonstrates a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights and violated state and federal laws,” the plaintiff, referred to as S.D. in the complaint, said.

Lovense produces a vibrator that couples can control remotely via a smartphone application. The overall product is called Lush.

In order to fully avail oneself of the full product offering, customers must download the Body Chat App, the complaint said.

Using Bluetooth, couples can establish “intimate connection” via the app, with users able to send texts, video chat and the ability to control paired devices.

The complaint said Lovense secretly engineered the apps to collect the personal information of its users, including the frequency, date and time of use and paired it on servers with personal information, all the while carefully concealing this fact from customers.

“Most, if not all, of its customers would not have purchased a Lovense vibrator in the first place had they known that it would monitor, collect, and transmit their usage information,” the complaint said.

A spokesperson for Lovense said that the company had nothing to hide.

“Users of our software and applications must agree to our privacy policy before using our services,” the spokesperson said. “It clearly mentions the kind of data transiting through our servers.”

The anonymous plaintiff purchased the Lovense toy in late 2016 and paired it with the internet applications, without knowing her information would be collected, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit is a class action and said the fact that the Hong Kong based company makes use of several California-based companies to advertise and distribute its product along with selling it in brick and mortar stores place the issue under the jurisdiction of federal courts.

The Lovense lawsuit is not the first related to sex toys, technology and spying.

In March 2017, another vibrator production company, We-Vibe, paid $3.5 million in a settlement with a class that claimed it was using technology apps to track users activities unbeknownst to them.

 

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