The internet is abuzz today with headlines like “Too Sensitive? Sex toy maker sued over collection of intimate data” and “Smart Sex Toy Maker Sued for Sneakily Collecting ‘Intimate’ Data.” By far the most tactful and politically correct is the Chicago Tribune’s article, entitled “Lawsuit claims smartphone-enabled massage device violated privacy.” Yes, the Chicago Tribune called a vibrator that can be controlled with a cellphone a “smartphone-enabled massage device.”

As you probably gathered from
these headlines, a woman is suing a sex toy company for supposedly collecting “intimate
data” from users of one of its vibrators. She purchased a “We-Vibe Rave” from a Chicago-area retailer for $130 in May, according to the lawsuit.

First, lets discuss the Plaintiff. The lawsuit names her only by her initials – N.P. (This is not uncommon in cases involving sensitive subjects.) N.P. must be very confident. For one, she bought the
vibrator in person from a “retailer,” not over the internet. She then contacted a law firm, met with one or more attorneys and/or
paralegals, explained that she uses the product, stated her qualms with the company’s
data collection practices, and agreed to be the named plaintiff in a lawsuit.

It is highly unlikely she simply marched in to the law firm, outraged,
demanding to take legal action – it is more likely that someone read about the
data collection policies and enticed her to meet with the law firm. Still,
it takes some balls to agree to be the named plaintiff in this class action lawsuit. I envision her being sort of
like Aya Cash’s fiery character in the TV show You’re The Worst, who says things
like “as my Grandma always said, it’s only the walk of shame if you’re capable
of feeling shame” and uses Christmas lights as an extension cord for her vibrator
in her cluttered apartment.

The Plaintiff’s law firm, Edelson
PC, is also unique. It is constantly mentioned on the Above The Law blog for
things like emphasizing a “relaxed office culture,” providing free lunches to
associates, elaborate pranks, and a creative pay structure.
Now, on to the We-Vibe Rave. The women who bought it got a little more than they bargained for. Soon after the
purchase, N.P. downloaded the companion “We-Connect app,” which allows the user to
control the vibrator with their smartphone (or that of a partner). Settings enabled by the app allow
partners to “exchange text messages, engage in video chats and control the
device from remote locations” through a paired smartphone. “Touch, tease and turn her on from anywhere with the free We-Connect
smartphone app
,” the product description on amazon.com boasts. N.P. used the device “on
several occasions” but allegedly was never informed that each time she turned
on the app, the company was monitoring her activities and collecting “usage
details” and other “personally identifiable” information.
It is not entirely clear what “usage
details” exactly were being stored. One can certainly speculate. Presumably, this information would allow the company to
optimize its products and better focus its marketing. 
The lawsuit claims the We-Vibe
violates the federal Wiretap Act and the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute by
intentionally intercepting electronic communications without consent. It also
alleges the company violated Illinois’ Consumer Fraud Act. A total buzz kill to the company, no doubt. At the very least, this
case probably has more merit than the “cold coffee” lawsuit against Starbucks.
“Good thing I didn’t
get the app,” said a Cincinnati-area woman who asked to remain anonymous,
adding “that thing is crap anyway.”

Contact The Durst Law Firm Today.

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