We-Vibe vibrator creator to pay damages after spying on user sex lives

Users that had their sexual activity monitored without consent are entitled to thousands of dollars in compensation.

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Standard Innovation Corp

Sex toy company Standard Innovation Corp. has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit following allegations the company spied on customer sex lives without permission.

Two women launched a class-action lawsuit against the company last year in relation to the We-Vibe 4 Plus, dubbed the "No. 1 couples vibrator" which allows users to "connect in new, exciting ways."

That includes with the company that made the toy, it seems.

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Users are able to connect the product to a smartphone over Bluetooth in order to control the vibrator's modes and intensity settings. In addition, the toy can be remotely controlled through the web so couples apart can still have fun.

However, Standard Innovation was accused of using these features to monitor just how much fun users were having -- including the time, date, temperature, and settings -- without permission.

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In a September 2016 filing, the complaint alleged that "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."

The two unnamed women who launched the lawsuit said the business' actions demonstrated a "wholesale disregard" for the privacy of users, and also shattered a number of US privacy laws.

The courts agreed. As a result, as reported by the National Post, the Ottawa, Canada-based firm must pay out four million Canadian dollars ($2.9 million) under the terms of a settlement.

Standard Innovation has also agreed to destroy all of the personal information collected from users.

Anyone who purchased a vibrator with the accompanying app before September 26, 2016, is entitled to damages of up to $10,000. Those who bought the vibrator without the app can also claim $199.

In a statement to MarketWatch, the company said it was "pleased to have reached a fair and reasonable settlement in this matter."

In a privacy note on the maker's website, the firm now says that if a customer chooses to install the We-Connect app relating to We-Vibe, "certain limited data is required for the We-Connect app to function on your device [...] this data is collected in a way that does not personally identify individual We-Connect app users."

The data collected includes the type of device, operating system, device IDs, IP addresses, language settings, and the date and time the We-Connect app was used.

"We also collect certain information to facilitate the exchange of messages between you and your partner, and to enable you to adjust vibration controls," the company says. "This data is also collected in a way that does not personally identify individual We-Connect app users."

The updated privacy policy now lays out Standard Innovation's stance on data collection, but this is a new development -- and not one made crystal clear in the beginning. It is important to note that the company will no longer tag on identifiers when it comes to user data.

"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," Standard Innovation added.

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