Vibrator company could face UK legal action after collecting data on sexual habits

Sean Morrison
Sex toy company has received UK complaints after it paid out millions in damages to customers in North America: We-Vibe

A sex toy manufacturer could face legal action in the UK after it emerged the company was collecting data on vibrator users' sexual habits.

Canadian firm Standard Innovation has already paid out more than £2 million to customers in North America for collecting the same information.

The vibrator firm had been using information collected via its smartphone app-controlled devices without notifying users.

The company denied any wrongdoing and said it was using the data collected from the We-Vibe vibrators to monitor for product defects, but a law firm says it has now been approached by numerous customers in the UK.

Jacqueline Young, head of group litigation at Slater and Gordon, said she had spoken to disgruntled users who were upset that their sexual habits were being monitored.

She 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.”

Ms Young said explicit consent is required to process such sensitive personal data 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,” she added.

The data collection first came to light last year during a Def Con hacking conference in the US.

There it was claimed anyone within Bluetooth range of the device could take control of its settings.

At the time of the settlement, Standard Innovation said: "We take customer privacy and data security seriously.

"We have enhanced our privacy notice, increased app security, provided customers (with) more choice in the data they share, and we continue to work with leading privacy and security experts to enhance the app.

"With this settlement, Standard Innovation can continue to focus on making new, innovative products for our customers."

The company says it has since changed the privacy and security settings on its vibrators, but has not yet commented on the UK complaints.

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