Company Behind “Smart” Vibrator To Settle Claims It Violated Users’ Privacy

From phones to children’s toys and speakers, just about everything can become a “smart” device today. Even vibrators. And just like all of the other devices, sex toys can also violate your privacy. That’s the crux of a soon-to-be settled lawsuit.

ArsTechnica reports that Standard Innovation — the company behind the We-Vibe smart vibrator — is poised to settle a federal lawsuit that claims the company improperly tracked consumers’ use of the vibrator including selected vibration settings and temperature.

According to the class-action lawsuit [PDF] — filed in September — in September 2014 the We-Vibe was updated with a feature that allowed customers to remotely control their vibrators from their smartphone.

In doing this, We-Vibe made it possible to collect consumers’ usage information — such as how often and how long the item was used. This data, according to the complaint, was then sent to the company’s servers.

In all, the suit claims Standard Innovation breached Illinois consumer fraud laws and the federal Wiretap Act by programming We-Connect — a service that connects users and their partners remotely — to “contemporaneously monitor, intercept, and transmit” data sent to the We-Vibe devices from consumers’ smartphones.

Customers claim, according to the suit, that they would not have purchased the vibrator had they known their actions would be monitored, collected, and transmitted.

A new filing [PDF] in the suit shows that the company and the Illinois resident who first filed the suit — identified as “N.P.” — have “executed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding agreed terms for settlement of Plaintiff’s claims on behalf of herself and a putative settlement class.”

It is unclear exactly what the settlement entails, as the actual filing will not occur until after a hearing set for next month.

While Standard Innovation didn’t provide comment on the settlement, but has previously said that no customer data was compromised and that it had changed it privacy policy.