Now even your sex toys are spying on you

Is nothing sacred in this world?

Image: Standard Innovation Corp

It's surveillance in the one place you really wouldn't want: your sex life.

Dubbed the "number one couple's vibrator", the We-Vibe 4 Plus is the latest in internet-connected sex toys. It connects wirelessly to a smartphone over Bluetooth so users or their partners can control the vibration intensity and mode. It also comes with internet connectivity so that a long-distance partner can control the device from anywhere.

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The trouble is, it's spilling your sexual secrets to its manufacturer.

Fusion was first to report the story that the We-Vibe 4 Plus tells its maker, Standard Innovation Corporation, the exact time and date when the device is being used, its temperature, and the type of vibration mode being used. That data is said to be used for hardware diagnostics to ensure the device remains safe.

There are two problems.

The first is that the site's privacy policy doesn't make any statement regarding collection of data. Fusion also couldn't find any explicit reference to this in the app's privacy policy. (A spokesperson later said that the company is engaged with additional security and privacy experts and is "actively working to update our privacy policy and data collection protocols to ensure the security of our customers private information, and to be more transparent with regards to our data collection".)

But the second is: how secure is the data it collects?

Customers do have the option using the app anonymously, the company said. But what stands out is the data that is collected. We've said before that every company now has to be a security company, whether they make children's toys, smart devices, or even sex toys. Not putting security first can be damaging down the line.

The company doesn't say much on its website:

"We take much care in ensuring our customers' privacy and security is protected. We-Connect data transmissions are encrypted and protected on secure servers," it says. "All in-app partner communications (instant messages and photos) are cleared after a partner session and are not stored. We-Connect also has a discretion lock that, when enabled, only allows a person with the correct PIN access to the app."

An internet-connected sex toy may seem novel for the modern age, but it's anything but fun and games when your sex life gets hacked.

Updated at 2:10 pm ET: with additional commentary from the company.

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