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Your microwave isn’t spying on you, but your vibrator might be

Photo: WeVibe
Photo: WeVibe

It might sound like something straight out of a Kellyanne Conway porn parody, but a vibrator that spies on its users is a real thing—and, understandably so, a real controversial one. The space-age sex toy in question is the We-Vibe, several iterations of which come with the option of remotely controlling the wearer’s, let’s say, intimate frequency via the company’s We-Connect app. (Vice’s Broadly site even took it for a test drive.) And in their haste to get the thing humming, many users of We-Connect failed to realize that the company was collecting data on their usage habits, according to NPR.

Not that WeVibe was upfront about it. The app reportedly was designed to surreptitiously “collect information about how often, and with what settings, the vibrator was used,” as NPR puts it, and, even more violating, connected that information to the email address used to sign up for the app. The company claims this data was collected for internal use only (hey-o!) and was stored on “secure” servers at its Canadian headquarters, but that wasn’t enough to appease the anonymous users who filed a class-action lawsuit in Illinois court last September.

Although the company maintains it did nothing wrong—if Facebook knows about your online shopping habits, one could argue, why shouldn’t your vibrator keep track of your other favorite leisure activity?—that lawsuit was settled yesterday for a sum of $3.75 million. Anyone who owns an app-enabled We-Vibe is now eligible for a refund of up to $199; if you actually connected it to the app, you can collect up to $10,000 for the abject humiliation of being anonymously spied upon by Canadian sex-toy manufacturers as you pleasured your partner via your phone. Unless, of course, you’re into that kind of thing. Then it’s a win-win.

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