The We-Vibe 4 Plus is a rubbery clamp that looks a little like the oversized thumb and forefinger of a Disneyland character pinching down. It comes in black, purple or pink and is billed as the "number one couple's vibrator." It has Bluetooth so that, once inserted into the desired part of your body, you can connect it to your smartphone and then use the We-Vibe app to control the intensity of its vibration.
But you should know a little something about your pleasure toy: it regularly violates the "don't-vibrate-and-tell" rule.
When the device is in use, the We-Vibe 4 Plus uses its internet connectivity to regularly send information back to its manufacturer, Standard Innovations Corporation. It sends the device's temperature every minute, and lets the manufacturer know each time a user changes the device's vibration level. The company could easily figure out some seriously intimate personal information like when you get off, how long it takes, and with what combinations of vibes.
This was revealed on Friday at hacker conference Defcon in Las Vegas by two security researchers, who wish to be called only by their handles @gOldfisk and @rancidbacon. The two examined the app's code and the information being sent by the device over Bluetooth.
In a statement sent by email, Standard Innovation Corporation's president Frank Ferrari confirmed that the company collects this information and explained why.
"At We-Vibe, we strive to create innovative products that have our customer’s preferences in mind," he said. "We-Vibe collects data on the use of its products in terms of vibration intensity and mode for market research purposes so that we can better understand what settings and levels of intensity are most enjoyed."
Yes, thanks to the connectivity of the internet, your orgasms are now subject to market research.
"While our policy does disclose that we may collect data, we are currently in the process of reviewing our privacy & data collection policy in an effort to provide more transparency for our customers," said Ferrari.
Good idea! "We need companies to treat the privacy and security of people's intimate data seriously," said researcher @g0ldfisk.
Now you may be thinking, "Why even have a vibrator that connects to the internet?" The idea is that a long distance lover could control your experience from afar, which while appealing, might not be worth the privacy trade-off, unless you're a data exhibitionist.
If you're more private about these things, the researchers advise using the device with your smartphone in airplane mode, so that you don't inform the company that 7 minutes in "surf mode" is your ticket to ecstasy.
Here's the full statement from Frank Ferrari, President of the Standard Innovation Corporation.
The safety and security of our customers is of utmost importance. We ensure that all data transmissions are encrypted in transit and protected on secure servers. We conduct regular security audits and address security issues as they are discovered to comply with current best practices and security standards.
At We-Vibe, we strive to create innovative products that have our customer’s preferences in mind. We-Vibe collects data on the use of its products in terms of vibration intensity and mode for market research purposes so that we can better understand what settings and levels of intensity are most enjoyed. Our reason for collecting CPU temperature data is purely for hardware diagnostic purposes. Data is only collected when the app is in use.
While our policy does disclose that we may collect data, we are currently in the process of reviewing our privacy & data collection policy in an effort to provide more transparency for our customers.