Sex toy maker settles privacy lawsuit for $3.75 million.

The makers of the We-Vibe, a line of vibrators that can be paired with an app for remote-controlled use, have reached a $3.75 million class action settlement with users following allegations that the company was collecting data on when and how the sex toy was used.

The We-Vibe product line includes a number of Bluetooth-enabled vibrators that, when linked to the “We-Connect” app, can be controlled from a smartphone. It allows a user to vary rhythms, patterns and settings — or give a partner, in the room or anywhere in the world, control of the device.

Since the app was released in 2014, some observers have raised concerns that Internet-connected sex toys could be vulnerable to hacking. But the lawsuit doesn’t involve any outside meddling — instead, it centers on concerns that the company itself was tracking users’ sex lives.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Illinois in September. It alleges that — without customers’ knowledge — the app was designed to collect information about how often, and with what settings, the vibrator was used.

The We-Vibe is one of several Bluetooth-enabled products that can be paired with an app and controlled remotely. Customers alleged that the company was secretly tracking their use.

The lawyers for the anonymous plaintiffs contended that the app, “incredibly,” collected users’ email addresses, allowing the company “to link the usage information to specific customer accounts.”

Customers’ email addresses and usage data were transmitted to the company’s Canadian servers, the lawsuit alleges. When a We-Vibe was remotely linked to a partner, the connection was described as “secure,” but some information was also routed through We-Connect and collected, the lawsuit says.

An estimated 300,000 people bought Bluetooth-enabled WeVibes, according to court documents, and about 100,000 of them used the app.

Under the terms of the settlement, anyone who bought an app-enabled vibrator can receive up to $199; anyone who actually connected it to the app can collect up to $10,000. The actual amount paid out will depend on how many people file claims; the company estimates people who bought the app will get around $40, and people who used the app around $500.

Source: NPR

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