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Maker of connected vibrator agrees to destroy sensitive user data

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Standard Innovation reaches $3 million class-action settlement after its vibrators were shown to collect and transmit ‘highly sensitive’ data

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We-Vibe

A sex toy company has settled a class-action lawsuit filed by women who alleged that its connected vibrators collected “highly sensitive” personal information without their consent. As part of the settlement, Ottawa-based Standard Innovation agreed to destroy the information it had already collected through its app-connected We-Vibe vibrator and to stop collecting such data in the future, The National Post reports. The company also agreed to pay 4 million Canadian dollars ($2.97 million) and did not admit to any wrongdoing.

The lawsuit was filed by two anonymous women last year, after two New Zealand hackers showed that the web-connected We-Vibe 4 Plus sent personal information to Standard Innovation’s servers whenever the sex toy was in use. During a presentation at last year’s Def Con hacking conference in August 2016, the hackers demonstrated that Standard Innovation received data on the vibrator’s temperature every minute, as well as information on changes in its intensity.

At the time, the company said it collected such data for “market research purposes, so that we can better understand what settings and levels of intensity are most enjoyed.” Touted as “the world’s no. 1 couples vibrator,” the We-Vibe 4 Plus connects to an app called We-Connect, which can be used to remotely control its intensity.

Two women filed a lawsuit against Standard Innovation one month after the Def Con presentation, alleging that the company failed to “notify or warn” users of the data collection. The suit, filed in an Illinois federal court, accused Standard Innovation of violating the Federal Wiretap Act, along with other privacy and consumer protection statutes.

In a statement to MarketWatch, Standard Innovation said it is “pleased to have reached a fair and reasonable settlement in this matter,” adding that it is developing a more transparent privacy policy. Under the settlement, people who purchased the We-Vibe device before September 26th, 2016 and used it with the app are entitled to receive up to $10,000. Those who used it without the app can receive $199.