We-Vibe Settle US Class Action for Almost $4 million

By on March 15, 2017

We-Vibe has reached a US class action settlement of almost $4 million, after it was found to be collecting intimate data about the way purchasers used the vibrator device.

The article published in the Age states
the class action against sex toy company Standard Innovation Corporation was brought in the federal court by two anonymous women in the US last year, in relation to the We-Vibe 4 Plus, a product advertised as the “No. 1 couples vibrator.”

The prime feature of the device allows users to adjust intensity and vibration patterns using a smartphone linked to the ‘We-Connect’ app, enabling couples to “play together even when [they’re] apart”.

Internet capabilities of the We-Vibe product line allow devices to be controlled long distance, for example between two people on opposite sides of the globe. Individual We-Vibe devices retail in Australia for between $170 and $300.

However in September last year it was revealed that intimate data from the device was being regularly sent back to the manufacturer when in use.

Such data included pattern and intensity levels of vibrations, the device’s temperature, when it was used and for how long, and the email address of customers registered with the device’s app.

Spokesman for Standard Innovation Denny Alexander said the information was stored to help “improve products and for diagnostic purposes”.

“The data was used only in aggregate, non-identifiable forms,” he told Fairfax Media.

The lawsuit against the manufacturer alleged that it was “intercepting and monitoring electronic communications between a user’s smartphone and the device, and then collecting and transmitting this data to servers in Canada,”.

Court documents state that the settlement agreement “achieves the dual purposes of the suit by providing both significant monetary compensation and cessation of [Standard Innovation’s] allegedly invasive information collection practices.”

As part of the settlement, Standard Innovation was required to establish two settlement classes: an ‘app class,’ for those who used the app and and a ‘purchaser class,’ for those who only purchased and used the device.

According to court documents, about 300,000 people purchased Bluetooth-enabled WeVibe products, while around one-third of those also used the app.

The settlement entitles any person who purchased the vibrator to claim up to CAD$199, while anyone who actually connected the device to the app could receive up to CAD$10,000.

However it is expected that purchasers of the device will receive around $40, while others who also used the app will receive around $500.

Mr Alexander said the company was pleased it had reached a fair and reasonable settlement.

“At Standard Innovation we take customer privacy and data security seriously. In September this year, we responded rapidly to concerns about app privacy and security,” he said.

“We 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 improve the app.”

Mr Alexander confirmed that while the settlement only applied to customers in the US, the company had made privacy and security updates on a global scale.

“Prior to September 2016, app users in all territories had the option of creating an account with their email address. This option has since been removed from the app.”

Standard Innovation has agreed to delete all email addresses provided via registration, the time and date of use on any device, vibration intensity levels and patterns, device temperatures and battery life.

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