Business

Ottawa-based sex toy maker settles privacy lawsuit for $5M

The Ottawa-based maker of a smart sex toy has agreed to a $5 million settlement after two people sued, alleging the vibrator collected some very personal information.

Company says users now have 'more choice in the data they share'

The We-Vibe 4 Plus App Only product is one of several Bluetooth-enabled devices covered in a recent lawsuit settlement.

The Ottawa-based maker of a smart sex toy has agreed to a $5 million settlement after two people sued, alleging the vibrator collected some very personal information.

A Chicago-area woman, identified in legal documents as N.P., launched the lawsuit against the company back in early September 2016, alleging the company was "selling adult sensual lifestyle products that secretly collected and transmitted highly sensitive information about consumers without their knowledge or consent." Another plaintiff, identified as P.S., joined the suit in February 2017.

The company in the case, Standard Innovation Corp., produces a line of vibrators that can be controlled by a user or a partner through a downloadable app and a smartphone.

The lawsuit claimed the app collected data on use of the vibrator, including the date and time of each use as well as vibration settings, without the user's knowledge. The suit also alleged the data and the user's personal email address were transmitted to company servers in Canada.

Under the terms of the settlement reached last week, the monetary award will be divided between two groups. People in the U.S. who bought the device, downloaded the company's app and used it to control a Bluetooth enabled We-Vibe product prior to Sept. 26, 2016, will be eligible for up to $10,000 US each in compensation. Meanwhile, those who only bought the device will be eligible to get back up to $199 US.

Standard Innovation has insisted that none of the collected user information has been compromised.

In an email to CBC News, a company spokesman said Monday the business was pleased to reach a "fair and reasonable" settlement. 

"At Standard Innovation we take customer privacy and data security seriously," Denny Alexander said.

"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 improve the app," Alexander said.