We-Vibe Lawsuit Settlement Up to $10k Per Customer for Privacy Violations
Sex toy company We-Vibe have been instructed by federal court to pay up to $10k per customer for the company's violation of users' privacy rights.
Reports came in last summer that Standard Innovation, the large Canada-based dildotronics company had violated user privacy by collecting and storing vast amounts of personal data such as sex toy settings, temperatures, times, dates and even email address on their servers without informing users prior.
Standard Innovation's We-Vibe had quickly become one of the global leader in the newly discovered world of cyberdildotronics. However the damaging information came to light last year when Hackers' at Def-Con decided to "reverse engineer bluetooth and internet enabled adult toys."
According to the lawsuit filed in the North District of Illinois Eastern Division District Court, the We-Connect app was transmitting information including dates and times of use as well as vibration mode and pattern to the company’s servers along with personally-identifiable email addresses without notifying customers.
Standard Innovation, which is based in Ontario, Canada, will pay $4 million Canadian dollars ($2.9 million) and is now required to collect only non-identifiable information in aggregate form and inform customers it is doing so. Customers who used the app to control the We-Vibe device before Sept. 26, 2016 are eligible for up to $10,000 in fees whereas those who simply bought a device are eligible to receive up to $199 each. - MarketWatch
As MarketWatch also reports, OhMiBod; another global giant in the cyberdildotronics market had suspended data collection since the triggering of this lawsuit, even though it is said that OhMiBod never collected any personally identifiable data.
It is evident from this case that makers of sex toys geared around IOT will need to become more vigilant in their privacy and security practises. Especially, as we know from all the reports of cyberhacking of mobile devices that such apps could have several vulnerabilities. It's up to service providers to ensure that security and privacy standards are maintained and that users take appropriate steps in order to safeguard their data, as much as they feasibly can.
Quoted from the Gizmodo report:
Standard Innovation released a statement following the court settlement saying:
At Standard Innovation we take customer privacy and data security seriously. We have 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 enhance the app. With this settlement, Standard Innovation can continue to focus on making new, innovative products for our customers.
In short, there are several factors that both service providers and customers need to consider going forward; that data sharing and protection is the responsibility of both parties, that hacking is becoming increasingly more advanced and IOT tends to have certain vulnerabilities due to it's network connection, privacy needs to be taken seriously across the board, data collection without prior notice is illegal and prosecutable, that safeguarding measures that are already in existance need to be implemented as well as researching measures that have the potential to be more secure. Plus, with more and more of the general public looking into various VPN options, it is highly likely that VPN providers will play a significant role in privacy assurance going forward.
Written by Brenda Adiyiah for Burn the Night
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