A recent article on Consumerist.com reveals intrusion into private sex lives that even Orwell didn’t think of. Fortunately, the government, in this case, didn’t outlaw sex and wasn’t doing the spying. It was a private company. In fact, an Illinois court (always a good place to file a product liability suit) fined Standard Innovation, maker of We-Vibe 4 Plus vibrators $3.75 million for its spying. That’s has to be enough to get the manufacturer of a specialty product’s attention.
It seems unlikely that all $3.75 million will be collected from the class-action suit because individual customers may not be willing to identify themselves to claim the $199 due those who simply bought a We-Vibe 4 Plus. Users of the accompanying We-Connect app may be more willing because they are due about $10,000 each. Why the difference, you ask?
The app allows the vibrator to be controlled via cell phone with a Blue Tooth connection. Such things as mode and intensity can be adjusted from the cell phone screen. For a better explanation see: http://we-vibe.com/app.
Where the company got in trouble was for intercepting and capturing on their servers data regarding customers’ use of the vibrator such as when and for how long and which settings they selected.
How many people, especially women, will be willing to publicly acknowledge that they not only use a vibrator but which model they use for a mere $199. App users may find $10,000 more enticing. One would expect that there will be more takers for this amount.
Recent Wikileaks releases suggest that the U.S. government may have the ability to gather the same, if not more, data than did the Canadian company that sells its vibrators worldwide.
Hackers Goldfisk and Follower demonstrated at Def Con 24 conference in Las Vegas how the We-Vibe 4 Plus can easily be remotely activated by anyone who can intercept it with a paired smartphone because the Bluetooth communications between the device and its controlling app aren’t secure.
By now some perverts in the government have already hacked these devices to make mischief. Spies will soon be intercepting the same data that is being sent to the company’s servers and using it to blackmail or at least embarrass people.