Users of an app-enabled sex toy cried foul after learning the device was uploading some intimate information to the company's servers without their knowledge.
Now the device maker will pay those customers up to $10,000 each.
Standard Innovation, makers of the app-enabled We-Vibe sex toy, was facing a lawsuit alleging it improperly gathered and transmitted "highly sensitive" information about its customers. The company has reached a $3.75 million settlement that will send up to $10,000 to each customer who used the vibrator and its companion app. Customers who used the vibrator but not the app will receive up to $199. The agreement was filed with a federal court Thursday.
In September, an Illinois woman filed suit against the company after concerns about the We-Vibe were brought to light at the annual Defcon hacking convention. Security researchers said a software flaw could allow a skilled hacker to potentially take control of the vibrator remotely. They also looked at the specific information gathered and transmitted by the device. That information included user preferences and usage statistics, all of which were transmitted to We-Vibe's servers along with user-identifiable email addresses -- and all without notifying customers.
As part of the settlement, Standard Innovation said it has at all times denied and continues to deny any allegations of wrongdoing and liability.
"We are pleased to have reached a fair and reasonable settlement in this matter," the company said in a statement. "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. The We-Connect app and our app privacy notice were updated in September."
At the very least, this case is a cautionary tale in the age of the internet of things, where more and more kinds of devices are connected to the web. That means that more of our personal data is getting uploaded to private servers, where its security depends on the best practices of the company collecting it.
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