Sex Toy Maker Sued over Data Collection through App

Terms of Use PolicySex Toy company sued for its collection of data through app that pairs with its vibrator.

A lawsuit filed on 1/31/2018 alleges a sex toy company unlawfully collected customer information about when and how often they use its vibrators. The suit is seeking damages and other relief for violations of federal wiretap law, intrusion on seclusion, and unjust enrichment.

Specifically, the suit claims,

To fully operate Lush, users download Defendant’s “Body Chat” application from the Apple Store or the Google Play store and install it on their smartphones. With Body Chat, users can “pair” their smartphone to Lush, allowing them—and their partners—remote control over the vibrator’s settings and features.

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Unbeknownst to its customers, however, Defendant designed [its app] to (i) collect and record highly intimate and sensitive data regarding consumers’ personal use of its Lovense vibrators, including the date and time of each use and the selected vibration settings … and (ii) transmit the … information—along with the user’s personal email address—to its servers.

Defendant, through a spokesperson, says the company did nothing wrong and pointed to its privacy policy as proof. “Users of our software and applications must agree to our privacy policy before using our services. It clearly mentions the kind of data transiting through our servers.”

Setting aside the “creepy” factor, app makers and Internet service providers can protect themselves from legal liability through smartly drafted privacy policies and terms of use. When we work with companies to draft privacy and terms of use policies there are many issues to address. However, three main points to address are:

  1. Clearly identifying what data is collected;
  2. How it will be used; and
  3. Whether it will be shared with third-parties.

Also, and this cannot be emphsized enough, you have to make sure your company is following through with the representations made in the policy. Failing to do so may create legal liability in the form of lawsuits or enforcement actions from agencies responsible for consumer protection laws. For these reasons, if you are serious about your app or service being successful, it is important to invest in having policies tailored to your particular situation.

Conversely, customers need to carefully evaluate what they are agreeing to by using an app or Internet service. Your only choice is most likely to accept ther terms or not use the app, but at least you have made an informed decision.

Contact us for more information about making your Internet business a success. We collaborate with Internet entrepreneurs and e-commerce businesses in addressing the legal risks and issues facing their business. Our goal is to eliminate or minimize those risks.