We-Vibe Privacy Disaster, Who Next?
In the Defcon 24 conference (a hackers’ conference), the security and privacy issues of the smart sex toy We-Vibe are revealed. This includes how the manufacturer stores the vibrator users’ personal details on their backend server. What do the hackers do with the data we know not. But it’s shocking for the lady there to find that her email address and body temperature were tracked and stored by her sex toy’s company.
What is We-Vibe?
We-Vibe is a smart vibrator (aka teledildonics) that is used by a woman. Her partner may control the toy remotely through the internet and the use of an app.
The vibrator is connected to the woman’s phone app via Bluetooth. Her partner can remotely control the intensity of vibration and duration of her toy via an app or cam sites that support it. For example, ImLive, Flirt4free, and Cam4.
What went wrong with We-Vibe?
The bad news is that, while the couples or cam models and cam viewers are playing happily with the toy, all information like email addresses, date, time, and toy settings includes vibration intensity are saved to We-vibe’s servers. One may argue that it is necessary to store it temporarily to execute the instructions to the toy. In a cam chatroom, people may tip continuously or multiple tippers tip at the same time and therefore there is a long queue of vibration instructions to carry out. These need to be remembered and thus, stored for a little while. But it should be purged right away when the instructions are executed. It’s probably just bad programming. I doubt there is any other intention for storing that.
And even if they argue that it’s for usage statistics of their products, it should obtain consent from the users first. Body temperature changes of the users are by all means none of their business!!! This is a pure privacy violation.
The case was presented to the court and We-Vibe has to compensate a total of about 3 million US dollars to all those who have bought the We-Vibe 4 Plus. Owners of the toy but didn’t use the app get $199 compensation, which is basically about the price of the toy. Those who use the phone app may get up to $10,000.
Ohmibod and Lovense are two other major smart dildos in the market and are popular in cam sites like Bongacams and Chaturbate. They shall face the same problems as We-Vibe. Let’s hope they are more sensible and do not store any personal data of the users.