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Vibrator maker paid out £2.4 million after being accused of tracking users’ sexual activity

Vibrator maker paid out £2.4 million after being accused of tracking users’ sexual activity

The company was hit with a lawsuit over privacy concerns

A sex toy company paid out CA$4 million (£2.4 million) to customers after being accused of tracking people's use without their knowledge.

Canadian brand We-Vibe agreed to cough up up to CA$10,000 (£6,120) per customer after flogging the so-called ‘smart vibrators’ which tracked their use, following a lawsuit in 2017.

A class action suit was launched in Illinois against the sex toy manufacturer’s parent company Standard Innovation and it was agreed the company would pay CA$4 million in total - with up to CA$10,000 for customers who used the associated app as well as the vibrator and CA$199 (£118) for those who had simply bought the sex toy.

We-Vibe never admitted to any wrongdoing as part of the out-of-court settlement.

The sex toy in question was the We-Vibe 4 Plus, which cost £90 and could be controlled via an app from anywhere in the world.

The smart vibrator was able to track the user's sexual activity.
We-Vibe/Standard Innovations

A description of the item read: "Touch the screen to control the vibrations and build intensity. 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."

However, it was revealed that the app was collecting and sending data back to Standard Innovation, including how often it was used and on which intensity - giving a fairly robust record of the user’s intimate habits.

According to court documents, around 300,000 people purchased Bluetooth-enabled WeVibe products, while around one-third of those also used the app.

Standard Innovation had stressed that the information had only been used for ‘diagnostic purposes’.

One woman who brought the vibrator to use with her long-distance boyfriend told the Daily Mirror in 2017 that the whole thing was ‘appalling’.

She said: "I thought I was sharing something with my partner that was private between us two. I didn't even think for one second that it was giving information to the company.

"It's not just the fact they did it without our knowing, it's what they actually collected - it's personal, it's like giving someone your preferences in bed, what turns you on, and they measured that.

"It's appalling. It's ridiculous that they thought they could do that."

A We-Vibe spokesperson told LADbible: "Given the intimate nature of our products, the privacy and security of our customers' data are of utmost importance.

We-Vibe's parent company Standard Innovation was ordered to pay CA$4 million in total.
We-Vibe/Standard Innovation

"While it is true that we settled a US class action suit in 2017, we want to emphasize that no customer data has been hacked or compromised, and no one's individual app use was monitored.

"Before September 2016, the We-Connect app included an optional registration process. We collected specific aggregate data regarding the app usage such as vibration intensity level or the processor chip's temperature, if users registered.

"This data was meant and used to improve our products. We never linked the collected data to individual users or actively sought to track people's sex lives. Nevertheless, we know that we should have asked and inform people explicitly about the data we collected.

"We learned from it and have immediately updated our We-Connect app comprehensively, enhanced security measures, and updated our app privacy notice.

"Last year, we reworked the app completely and launched a new version of the We-Vibe App. Users can use the app anonymously without signing up or registering.

"Furthermore, data is protected by encryption. The more intimate data such as vibration preferences are stored anonymously and not associated with the individual user.

"With the help of external security and privacy experts, we strive to continuously strengthen our data protection and security measures to offer safe products to our customers."

Featured Image Credit: We-Vibe / Moodboard Stock Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Weird