Woman Sues Canadian Maker of Vibrator for Collecting ‘Highly Sensitive’ Information

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Photo Credit: we-vibe.com

An American woman has filed a lawsuit in a Delaware court against the Ottawa maker of We-Vibe a Canadian smartphone-enabled vibrator, alleging that the company shares ‘highly sensitive’ information.

What is We-Vibe?

Released two years ago, the sex aid, We-Vibe can be controlled using a cellphone app called We-Connect and is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible.

The app allows for private text messages and calls from partners as well as controlling the aid remotely.

The Lawsuit Against Standard Innovation (US) Corp

A Chicago based woman has officially made complaints against Standard Innovation (US) Corp., owned by Ottawa-based Standard Innovation Corp, over the sexual aid, We-Vibe.

The claims are that the Standard Innovation Corp. did not sufficiently explain how the ‘sensitive information’ being collected by users was used and distributed.

The We-Vibe user known, as ‘N.P.’ is appealing for certification as a class action complaint, wanting a trial by jury in order to fight a case against a company that disregards privacy rights, violating a number of U.S. laws.

We-Vibe and Sensitive Data

N.P. who bought the vibrator for $170, put forward a court filing that read:

“Unbeknownst to its customers … (Standard Innovation) designed We-Connect to collect and record highly intimate and sensitive data regarding consumers’ personal We-Vibe use, including the date and time of each use and the selected vibration settings, and transmit such usage data — along with the users’ personal email address — to its servers in Canada.”

Photo Credit: We-Vibe

“(N.P.) would never have purchased a We-Vibe had she known that in order to use its full functionality, (Standard Innovation) would monitor, collect and transmit her usage information through We-Connect.”

The lawsuit asked for an injunction prohibiting the company from monitoring, collecting and transmitting consumer usage information, damages arising from the invasion of personal privacy, and damages arising from the purchase of the sex aid.

Standard Innovation’s Statement

Standard Innovation said, “We cannot comment,” but “given the intimate nature of our products, the privacy and security of our customers’ data is of utmost importance to our company. Accordingly, we take concerns about customer privacy and our data practices seriously.”

Photo Credit: We-Vibe

 

There are signs that Standard Innovation is planning to make it clearer regarding how user data is being collected:

“We are updating the We-Connect app later this month, and the update will include new in-app communication regarding our privacy and data practices and a new feature for consumers to control how their data may be used,” it said in the statement.”

Internet of Things, Connectivity and Privacy

The Internet of Things refers to devices that connect to the Internet as well as other devices. Products include: washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices, cellphones, etc.

The analyst firm Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be over 26 billion connected devices. The connections will be between products and people, products with other products and people with other individuals.

Photo Credit: We-Vibe

 

This has caused concern about security and how our data is being collected and distributed to other companies. Often people are unaware of how exactly their information is being used.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released a report about concerns for privacy and data accompanying the Internet of Things, IoT, stating:

“The Internet of Things has been compared to electricity, or a nervous system for the planet, to illustrate phenomena that are at once pervasive, unseen and will become crucially integrated within the fabric of our society.”

“Several international experts, thinkers and technology builders are forecasting profound political, social and economic transformations; concerns about privacy and surveillance are chief among them.”