Maker of hackable "smart" vibrator will pay $3.5 million settlement to users.

Maker of Hackable "Smart" Vibrator Will Pay $3.5 Million Settlement to Users

Maker of Hackable "Smart" Vibrator Will Pay $3.5 Million Settlement to Users

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
March 16 2017 11:21 AM

Maker of Hackable "Smart" Vibrator Will Pay $3.5 Million Settlement to Users

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The company recorded the temperature and vibration settings of its users’ toys.

Thinkstock

People who bought easily-hacked vibrators that recorded and transmitted their vibing habits are about to get a pretty payday from a Canadian sex-toy maker. Standard Innovation, the oxymoronically-named company that manufactures the “smart” We-Vibe device, will pay $3.75 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago.

The suit claims that customers bought the app-controlled, Bluetooth-compatible devices without consenting for their personal information to be collected and stored by the company. If they installed the We-Connect app on their mobile devices, users could control their vibrators (or, likely, their partners’) from afar with their phones. One unexpected feature of the app was its ability to be hijacked by anyone with a Bluetooth connection in the vicinity, allowing random people to control the movements of an object in a total stranger’s pants.

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The barely-there security protections of the vibrator’s app, which were easily dissolved by hackers who likened it to “sexual assault” at a convention last year, weren’t the main concern of the suit, though. The two plaintiffs held that their privacy was violated by Standard Innovation when the company tracked the vibrator temperature and vibration intensity of toys paired with the We-Connect app. So the We-Vibe makers ended up with files tracking the exact sexual stimulation desires of their customers, an image that calls to mind the National Security Agency’s hard drives brimming over with dick pics.

About 300,000 people bought these devices; each is eligible for somewhere under $200. The roughly 100,000 people who also used the app can potentially claim several thousand dollars each; however, since the settlement is just $3.75 million and legal fees must be paid first, the actual amount they get may vary. These are the people whose email addresses are, in company databases, tied to their preferences for either high-speed sustained vibrations, a slowly cresting and falling sensation, a throbbing pulse, or some combination of the several other settings on the toy.

Standard Innovation will have to delete all such collected data under the terms of the settlement agreement. The presumably small minority of users who got off on the idea of a nameless, faceless computer combing through the data of their foreplay will have to find a new favorite toy.