Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Lawsuit: Sex Toy Company Spies on Customers

People work remotely through computers, so why not use sex toys remotely?

It may surprise you to know that there is an app for that. A Hong Kong-based company makes vibrators that can be controlled remotely through cell phones.

But it came as a big surprise to one user that the company was collecting data about her sexual behavior through the app. Of course she sued anonymously -- maybe.

Oh, App

"S.D." -- who used the sex toy that uploaded the dates, times, and duration of sex sessions -- may be famous by now. But it was not the kind of attention she wanted.

She alleges Lovense violated her state and federal rights to privacy, not to mention spying on her intimate moments.

"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 state and federal laws," the plaintiff said in the complaint.

A company spokesperson said users acknowledge the terms of use when they download the software.

"Users of our software and applications must agree to our privacy policy before using our services," the spokesperson said. "It clearly mentions the kind of data transiting through our servers."

Where Is It?

People rarely read the terms of service agreements that accompany apps, software and websites. But like the small print in many contracts, the devil is in the details.

In one study, fewer than 25 percent of more than 500 participants read the terms of service agreement. Only 9 people caught the "child assignment clause" on the fake website.

"By agreeing to these Terms of Service, and in exchange for services, all users of this site agree to immediately assign their first-born child to NameDrop, Inc. If the user does not yet have children, this agreement will be enforceable until 2050. All individuals assigned to NameDrop automatically become the property of NameDrop, Inc. No exceptions."

S.D. may have a similar problem in the vibrator case. But at least she won't have to worry about a child assignment clause.

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