❝ With the internet of things, previously innocuous devices have been rigged up to collect all sorts of data about their users—including sex toys. According to a recently filed US lawsuit, at least some people are unhappy with the privacy risk this could pose.
In the complaint, an unnamed plaintiff claims one “smart” sex toy collected identifiable details on her use of the device without her knowledge, and she is now seeking punitive damages. That data allegedly included details such as when the device was used, and what intensity setting the user selected.
❝ Although this sort of data collection may come as a surprise to some, researchers have discovered that other similar devices are also pooling sensitive information, highlighting a looming privacy threat: What if the company is hacked, and those details are released? Even if the data is kept secure, some customers perhaps don’t want unknown employees to have access to a wealth of data on how they spend their most personal time…
❝ The lawsuit, first reported by the Courthouse News Service, centres around a device called the We-Vibe: a vibrator which can be remotely controlled with a smartphone app.
The complaint alleges that the app was designed to “secretly collect intimate details about its customers’ use of the We-Vibe, including the date and time of each use, the vibration intensity level selected by the user, the vibration mode or pattern selected by the user,” and the user’s email address.
According to the complaint, “Plaintiff would never have purchased a We-Vibe had she known that in order to use its full functionality, Defendant would monitor, collect, and transmit her Usage Information.”
❝ The lawsuit appears to be based on the work of security researchers known as g0ldfisk and followr, who told an audience at the Defcon hacking conference in August how they took apart the We-Vibe and discovered the sort of data it was sending back to the company. At the time, Standard Innovation, the Canadian company behind the We-Vibe, said it collected some of the data for market research purposes. The company gave the example that if lots of customers kept using the We-Vibe’s highest intensity setting, then perhaps the device was a bit too weak overall…
The We-Vibe is far from the only smart sex toy on the market collecting user data. In one case, Pentest Partners found an Android sex toy app that stored very personal temporary images…
“If you lose your phone, or someone pops your SD card, some highly private content could be exposed,” security researcher Ken Munro said.
The wonders of any technological advance pretty much can be guaranteed to provoke greed, profit, salacious abuse and criminal behavior – by human beings.