Data-gathering sex toy manufacturer pays out $4 million in class action settlement
Standard Innovation Corporation, a Canadian company which manufactures an internet-enabled sex toy under the We-Vibe brand, has reached a settlement in a class action in which it was alleged that it collected and stored intimate data without the consent of the customer.
The We-Vibe sex toys are designed to be used with the We-Connect smartphone app which can be used to control the sex toy via the app or remotely. It was revealed in September 2016 that intimate data from the device was regularly being sent back to the manufacturer when in use. This data included pattern and intensity levels of usage, device’s temperature, when it was used and for how long together with the email address of customers registered with the device’s app.
A spokesman for Standard Innovation based in Ottawa, Canada said that the information stored was only used to help “improve products and for diagnostic purposes” and was only used “in aggregate, non-identifiable forms”.
In a class-action bought by two anonymous female complainants it alleged that the company was “intercepting and monitoring electronic communications between a user's smartphone and the device, and then collecting and transmitting this data to servers in Canada” all without the user’s knowledge or consent.
Speaking last year a spokesman for Standard Innovation stated “… we take customer privacy and data security seriously”, confirming that once aware of the breach the company “enhanced our privacy notice, increased app security, provided customers more choice in the data they share, and we continue to work with leading privacy and security experts to improve the app."
Around 300,000 people had purchased Bluetooth-enabled We-Vibe products of which one-third also used the app. The settlement agreed at C$4million (£2.4 million) established two classes of complainants: an ‘app class’ for those who had used the app with the device and a ‘purchaser class’ for those who used the device without the app.
The settlement entitles any person who purchased the sex toy to claim up to C$199, while anyone who actually connected the device to the app up to C$10,000. However, it is expected that purchasers of the device will receive around C$40, while others who also used the app will receive around $500.
Click here to find out how Brett Wilson LLP privacy solicitors can help you if your private and personal information has been retained without your consent.
Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.