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Vibrator Manufacturer Could Face Legal Action From UK Customers

Vibrator Manufacturer Could Face Legal Action From UK Customers

A sex toy manufacturer accused of collecting data about people’s bedroom habits without their consent could face legal action from customers in the UK. 

Standard Innovation has paid out more than £2m to customers in America who bought one of the We-Vibe products, Bluetooth connected ‘couples’ vibrators which can be controlled through a smartphone app. 

After it emerged that sensitive information, including dates and times of use, intensity settings, temperature and even users’ email addresses was being stored, law firm Slater and Gordon says it has now been contacted by several UK customers. 

The Canadian-based company was accused of failing to notify customers in the US about its data collection policy, but denied any wrongdoing and said it was using the details to monitor for hardware defects.  

Jacqueline Young, head of group litigation at Slater and Gordon, said: “The people I have spoken to are understandably upset that intimate information about their sexual habits has been monitored and stored in this way alongside their email addresses.

“They are horrified at what they see as a gross invasion of their privacy and say they would never have downloaded and used the app if they knew this is what it involved.

“In the UK, explicit consent is required to process sensitive personal data such as this under the terms of the Data Protection Act. 

“If this information has been harvested in the way alleged then this constitutes a clear breach which we are now investigating.” 

Billed as ‘the world’s number one couples’ vibrator’ on Standard Innovation’s website, the devices –the We-Vibe Classic, 4 Plus, 4 Plus App Only, Rave and Nova – are sold by major retailers including Amazon and Ann Summers.

Operated remotely via a mobile phone app, the company’s practice of collecting data only came to light last year when hackers at an American conference claimed control of the device could be seized by anyone within Bluetooth range. 

One customer who has contacted Slater and Gordon said: “We had a certain expectation of privacy and you can’t have privacy without security. If we had known this could happen then we would never have used it.  

“I was away from home with work a great deal at the time and my fiance and I thought it might be a fun thing to try. We’re a couple, we have sex and when we were apart we missed each other.  

“We were delighted with it at first, but then I read what had happened in America. I was horrified at the thought that our privacy could have been invaded in the same way.  

“First of all I wrote to the manufacturers and said I had bought it and used the app. I asked if they had been collecting my data, but they have not to date replied.”

Standard Innovation settled the US class action out of court, paying those who bought the device and downloaded the app before September 26, 2016, up to £8,000 each.

Customers in America who purchased the vibrator, but did not use the app received around £160.