How Intimate Is Too Intimate with Technology?

Laura BednarCyber Bullying and Online Harassment

Sex Tech Consumer Privacy Concerns

Technology controlled by mobile phones has made its way into every aspect of our lives in an attempt to make everyday tasks easier to complete. While this new level of connectivity between our phones and devices can be helpful, it causes security concerns. In the case of sex tech, the question becomes: is convenience worth the risk of making public some of life’s most intimate details?

What Are Sex Tech Devices?

The field of sex tech includes devices that are connected to people’s phones that allow them to control the movements and patterns of a device meant to bring pleasure. Some apps related to these devices will track usage and other data to give the user information on how to create a better experience in the future. There are even some devices with an internet connection so a person can control their partner’s device.

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While this sort of development used to be under wraps and rarely spoken of, it has become a booming market for both male and female consumers. Professionals began to take the developments seriously and the CES 2020 show was an opportunity for these companies to showcase their innovations.

Controversy Over Morality

A company known as Lora DiCarlo showcased its sex tech at CES in 2019 and received an Honoree Innovation Award. The recognition was hastily revoked after deciding the products were inappropriate and did not keep with the image of the Consumer Technology Association, who holds the CES show. The CTA later apologized and returned the award, asking for assistance in making the show more inclusive with this type of technology.

During this year’s show, several sex tech devices debuted under the health and wellness category. However, there were some ground rules for the attending companies. Anatomically correct robots or other displays that were human in nature were not permitted, and personnel could not use lewd language to attract a consumer to come to their booth.

The Need for Greater Security

Early on, connectivity among these types of devices was less than secure. Some products had an app that could be easily hacked, resulting in access to an entire user base. The real compromises happen within the phone and the app, not the device itself.

Some apps require you to create a profile with an email address while others can remain anonymous. Just a few years ago, a woman sued a sex tech company claiming that her device was spying on her. A more recent lawsuit involved a Hong Kong-based sex tech company that allegedly stored the personal data of users including the time and date of product use.

“Although the trend right now is to make every device as ‘smart’ as possible, the question anyone considering a cloud-connected device should ask themselves is ‘how would I feel if this data became public?’,” said Allan Buxton, Director of Forensics at SecureData. “Given how deeply personal sex tech is, users should read any terms for the service and device very carefully, and take steps to protect their account as strongly as possible or limit third-party access to the data it collects.”

Cybersecurity Extends to All Tech

Any consumer using a technological device is susceptible to security breaches. While there are many safeguards for data privacy, hackers and cybercriminals are only learning with each new product or software out there. In terms of sex tech, a leak of that kind of personal information would be the ultimate invasion of privacy. Buxton’s advice to carefully review terms and conditions of products is relevant not just for intimate devices, but any connected electronics.

If you have cybersecurity concerns about your phone and its connected apps, call Secure Forensics. Our examiners have experience dealing with data breaches, spyware detection, and mobile phone forensics. Call us at 1-800-288-1407.