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September 20, 2016

Lawsuit Alleges We-Vibe App Violates Privacy

CHICAGO—An Illinois woman has fled a class-action lawsuit against Standard Innovation, makers of the We-Vibe family of products, claiming the manufacturer is violating customers’ privacy by “selling products that secretly collect and transmit highly sensitive personally identifiable information about the consumers using them.” The woman, identified only as N.P. in court records, filed the suit Sept. 2 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and alleges violations of the Federal Wiretap Act and Illinois privacy statues. The suit claims the We-Connect app—which is used by some We-Vibe products, but not all—monitors and records how consumers use the device in real-time, and alleges the app tracks personal details such as the date and time of each use of the vibe and the app, the chosen vibration intensity and pattern and the email addresses of users who have registered within the app. We-Vibe launched the We-Connect App in September, 2015. We-Connect features in-app voice, chat and video, and the ability to draw and save custom vibration patterns. When it was released, the app worked with We-Vibe 4 Plus, We-Vibe Classic, We-Vibe 4 Plus App Only and the We-Vibe Passionate Play Collection. “Unbeknownst to its customers, however, Defendant designed We-Connect to collect and record highly intimate and sensitive data regarding consumers’ personal We-Vibe use, including the date and time of each use and the selected vibration settings, and transmit such usage data—along with the user’s personal email address—to its servers in Canada,” the suit reads. “Though the data collected from its customers’ smartphones is undoubtedly valuable to the company, Defendant’s conduct demonstrates a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights and violated numerous state and federal laws.” N.P. alleges Standard Innovation did not obtain consent from any customers before beginning to monitor the information, and noted she would not have purchased a We-Vibe (the suit notes she purchased a We-Vibe Rave in May, 2016) had she known the app would monitor, collect and transmit her usage information. A statement released by Standard Innovation noted the company had taken steps to enhance its data security and privacy measures, even going so far as to contact privacy experts to review its practices. “There’s been no allegation that any of our customers’ data has been compromised,” the company statement reads. “However, given the intimate nature of our products, the privacy and security of our customers’ data is of utmost importance to our company.” N.P is asking for damages, including actual, statutory and punitive damages as well as attorney’ fees and litigation expenses. The case was assigned to Judge Virginia M. Kendall and an initial hearing is scheduled for Nov. 8.

 
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