JOANNA ELM, Author, Journalist, Attorney

News Squib#3 – Suing A Smart Vibrator

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Digital tablet on newspaper concept for internet and electronicIt’s Squib Saturday. Time to share the best, most interesting (or most entertaining, or most outrageous) tidbit of information I’ve gleaned from all the stuff I’ve read this week. Today: When Good Vibrations Turn Bad 

 

There was a time (decades ago) when no self-respecting female would admit to knowing what a vibrator was, much less admit to owning — or good heavens, using —  one. But times change, and earlier this year a vibrator, described as the “Lexus” of sex toys got the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

Seal of Approval

apple-and-htc-phoneNo. Really. I’m not making this up. You can check it out. Good Housekeeping magazine rated the We-Vibe 4 Plus the “best sex toy for couples.”

Why? Because the vibrator works off a smartphone app so that a partner/lover/spouse can operate it by remote control — “even from another continent.” We-Vibe users can download the We-Connect app from the Apple App store or from Google Play, and install it on their smartphones allowing them and a partner remote control over the vibrator’s settings and features. The We-Connect app is apparently also programmed to allow partners to exchange texts and video chats while using the remote control.

Class Action

United States Court HouseSeal of approval, notwithstanding,  an Illinois woman who doesn’t want the whole world to know that she was using one, is now using the initials N.P. in a federal class action lawsuit brought against Standard Innovations Corp., the Canadian company that produces the We-Vibe 4 Plus and other “sensual lifestyle products.” She claims that the company designed the vibrator and app to “secretly collect and transmit highly sensitive personally identifiable information” about consumers using it.

Hacking Possibility

Two hackers attending Def Con, a hacking conference, in Las Vegas in August revealed that the app was transmitting information back to the company’s servers. The manufacturer has reportedly acknowledged collecting data, but has stated that it is encrypted and protected during transfer and storage. The two hackers also raised the specter of the vibrator being hacked into by strangers, and thus the possibility of sexual assault by someone intercepting the internet connection between the vibrator and the controlling device.

Invasion of Privacy

The class action lawsuit was filed a month ago in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago and alleges that the information includes “time and date of each use [ along with] the selected vibration settings” including desired intensity level, and the user’s personal email address.  N.P is suing for consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Federal Wiretap Act and the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute. She is also seeking an injunction, and damages arising from the invasion of personal privacy.

Oddly enough, the plaintiff does not seem too concerned about the personal privacy of  “all others similarly situated” on whose behalf she is suing. She contends that it is likely the class consists of tens of thousands of individuals who “can be easily identified through Defendant’s records and/or Defendant’s retail partners’ records.”

Now, there’s a real nice surprise in the mail for all those consumers who ordered the We-Vibe 4 Plus — forked over $129.00, and asked for “discreet billing and shipping.”

Photos credit: Bigstockphoto.com; We-Vibe.com

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2 Comments

  1. Anyone foolish enough to use this app deserves getting screwed, not in the good way

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