The rapid rise of the Internet of Things has certainly raised some privacy concerns, but when the “thing” is a sex toy, that takes it to a whole new level. The Lovense vibrator app, which allows a user to remotely control a “bullet vibrator,” was found to be secretly recording and storing audio files while it was in use.
A Redditor named tydoctor discovered the sound files while he was reviewing his phone storage in advance of a factory reset. “The file was a FULL audio recording 6 minutes long of the last time I had used the app to control my SO’s remote control vibrator (We used it at a bar while playing pool),” he wrote.
A representative of Lovense responded on Reddit with a post claiming it was just a “minor bug” and the audio files were only saved locally. “Rest assured, no information or data is sent to our servers,” the company rep said. “This cache file currently remains on your phone instead of deleting itself once your session is finished. Also, when the file is created it overwrites itself (no new files are created).”
Lovense confirmed that the bug only affected Android users, and a later post announced that an new version of the app is now available for download from the Google Play Store. If you use this particular app, make sure you’re updated to version 3.0.7.
This isn’t the first time that Lovense and its “teledildonic” sex toys have seen some backlash over the connected nature of their products, as the International Business Times points out. Several months ago, a Bluetooth remote-controlled sex toy was hacked and activated, easily bypassing Lovense’s authentication.
In 2016, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the makers of the remote-control We-Vibe vibrator and associated phone app, which collected user’s data on company servers. In addition to email addresses, which linked specific users to their sex toys, the company also collected data on where and how often its customers used its products. Earlier this year, We-Vibe shelled out $3.75 million to settle the lawsuit, according to NPR.