A Canadian adult toy manufacturer has been forced to pay out $4 million Canadian dollars after their product was found to be collecting information on user’s private habits.
The company, We-Vibe, has apologized to customers after the device’s flaws were exposed by a pair of hackers in New Zealand.
Their parent company, Standard Innovation, issued a statement saying: “At Standard Innovation 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 product in question is called the ‘We-Vibe,’ and is a Bluetooth-enabled device that is meant to be used by couples in conjunction with an app. It supposedly allowed couples who may be separated by distance the ability to use the device in an interactive way.
However, flaws in the design of the device were exposed by hackers, and showed the device could be controlled very easily by anyone within Bluetooth range. And perhaps most grievously, it was discovered that the device was collecting data on the temperature and frequency of use by its users, and reporting it back to the manufacturer.
The internet went wild last week as a result of the latest Wikileaks file dump, one that exposed surveillance techniques used by the government against foreign targets. It purportedly included the ability to hack iPhones, Androids, and even smart TVs, and memes ever since have conflated these tools of espionage with potential intrusions on the privacy of American citizens, although there remains no evidence that the technology was used for anything besides foreign intelligence collection, which remains the entire purpose of America’s intelligence community.
Featured image courtesy of Reuters