Sex-Toy Maker Pays Millions to Settle Spying Case

CHICAGO (CN) – The maker of We-Vibe, a high-tech vibrator that can be controlled remotely via a smartphone app, will pay $3.75 million to settle accusations that it was secretly tracking users’ activities.

On shelves since 2014, We-Vibes can be connected to users’ smartphones with help from the We-Connect app. The product is made by Ottawa-based Standard Innovation.

“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.”

Lead plaintiff N.P. said she bought herself a $130 We-Vibe, but never realized “that We-Connect monitors and records, in real time, how [purchasers] use the device,” according to the 2016 complaint.

Standard Innovation likewise failed to mention “that it transmits the collected private usage information to its servers in Canada,” the complaint continues.

N.P. claimed customers’ most “intimate details” were 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.”

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall granted preliminary approval of a class settlement in the case.

Under the settlement’s terms, Standard Innovation agreed to place $3.75 million in a settlement fund. An estimated 300,000 people bought a We-Vibe, according to court documents, and about 100,000 of them used the app.

Each person who used the linked app will receive a payment of approximately $500, while each purchaser of the vibrator alone will be paid approximately $40. It is as-yet unclear what share of the settlement fund will go to class counsel.

Further, the company agreed to destroy the data it has collected so far and alter its privacy policy.

Standard Innovation, which did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

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