Here's some more proof that not everything should be turned into an internet-connected devices: Sex toy company Lovense has been found to be recording its users' private and intimate activities without them knowing.
One Redditor discovered that the Lovense remote control app, companion to Lovense's line of sex toys, recorded a six-minute audio while the Redditor used it with their significant other.
Lovense Sex Toy Recorded Their User's Private Activities
The Redditor said the recording occurred while using the remote control app the smart vibrator was paired with, and it saved the recording to a local file buried in the phone's media storage. Another commenter, claiming to be a representative of the sex toy company, said it was a bug.
"[I]t has already been confirmed that this is a minor bug — a temporary file that is created when someone uses the Sound Control feature," said the representative, adding "no information or data is sent to our servers."
The bug only affected Android devices and not iOS, according to the representative. At the time of writing, the bug has apparently been fixed — an update to the Lovense remote control app is now available on the Google Play Store. The update deletes the temporary audio file "tempSoundPlay" after exiting the Sound Control feature. That seems to mean the app is still recording, though the file gets deleted afterward.
The Problem With Internet Of Things Devices
"Absolutely no sensitive data (pictures, video, chat logs) pass through (or are held) on our servers," according to Lovense's privacy FAQ, though it's worth noting it didn't mention audio as an example.
The existence of a secretive recording of the user's private and intimate moments with another individual came as a total shock to some, especially if they have already grown cautious of devices that previously had similar privacy invasion issues, one of which being We-Vibe, which lost a class-action lawsuit in March over illegal data collection.
Lovense's bug highlights one of the most crucial problems inherent to internet of things devices: privacy breaches. As more appliances and regular household objects gain connected features — fridges, juicers, garage doors, bulbs, and many others — privacy becomes a more pressing concern. Just this past August, LockState smart locks left some users stranded in or out of their homes because of a problem with the firmware update.
It goes without saying that the concept of privacy becomes even more fragile when smart sex toys are breached, because that already involves crossing the line into people's private sexual relationships and activities. Fittingly, this flub isn't Lovense's first. Earlier this year, a butt plug made by the company, called the Hush, was discovered to be hackable.
If this tells us one thing, it's that if you're on the prowl for internet-connected sex toys, do some extensive research first.