Valentine’s Day can be a hard time for those in long distance relationships. Thankfully there are several connected devices that can save the day.
There’s Pillow Talk which allows you to hear the heartbeat of your loved one if they wear a wrist band and you put a little box under your pillow. You can send a snog overseas with the Kissenger which facilitates a phone-enabled “human to human tele-kiss”.
And there are more intimate devices. For example the ladies, the We-Vibe Sync enables long-range remote operation through the We-Connect app. The Lovense Remote vibrator is “Bluetooth compatible for long distance play”. And for the gentleman, the Kiiroo that can be synched to a phone so couples can have faraway fun. This is not an exhaustive list.
As we know, every connected device generates data and with the latter devices data of the most personal nature. How can you trust it will be treated with the utmost respect and discretion? You can’t. In March 2017, Standard Innovation, the producers of the We-Vibe vibrators reportedly agreed to pay out $3.7 million to customers who had downloaded the app and used it with their toy. Customers who bought toys but not used the app were able eligible for financial compensation from the same pot, though to a lesser degree. According to the lawsuit, Standard Innovation collected the times of use, settings, vibration intensity and temperature of the device. Furthermore, data was linked to customers personal email addresses meaning it was possible to identify the customers.
In November 2017, a Lovense user stated on Reddit that their device had recorded a session of use without their knowledge. The company said this was down to a bug that only affected Android users. Early the following year Lovense was also facing a class action law suit. The main plaintiff alleged that Lovense failed to notify or get permission from customers that their usage data was being collected and transmitted. This information included date and time of use and vibration settings.
Companies that collect our data have got to do better than this. It is invasive, rude and presumptive to assume that any and every piece of data that users generate is fair game for collection and analysis. The excuse of the data being necessary for product development is not good enough. If banking and financial data can be locked down and encrypted, why can’t the same standards apply across the board?
Everyone knows that a Kitemark represents quality and high standards. Could such a trademark be brought in for adherence to data protection rules?
Until such as time when consumers can tell from a similar symbol that a product and the manufacturing company adhere to stringent data protection rules, we will have to exercise extreme judgement when deciding which companies to trust with our most personal details and where we put the products they create.