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More Remote Controlled Adult Toys To Launch - The Communications Blog - Birchills Telecom

More Remote Controlled Adult Toys To Launch - The Communications Blog - Birchills Telecom

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More Remote Controlled Adult Toys To Launch

Birchills Telecom
Published by in News ·
The mind has always boggled at the possibilities associated with smart adult and sex toys.

Imagine if you can – experiencing the rumoured sexual exploits of Catherine the Great of Russia who, the untrue rumour has it, expired whilst in congress with a horse. Or perhaps enjoying the famously skilful and deeply oriental, love making of the famous Wallace Simpson. Or even experience the Great Bed of Ware where according to the London Chronicle in July 1765 26 butchers and their wives “slept”. Apparently today if you try to repeat their loving encounters the ghost pinches you until you stop.

Now, your dreams and fantasies may have become a little closer. The recent expiration of a teledildonics patent means more sex toys will be able to connect remotely. But beware not only about the sex toys hygiene but also their data security.

The scene with your doctor could be awful if you omit either. I can just hear her saying, “You did what- with what? Oh hang on -  I can just watch you on Facebook. Ugh…here are some strong antibiotics!”

US patent 6,368,268 has finally expired. The patent described remote control of sex toys using digital computer networks. The patent was sold in 2015 to a litigious crowd called Tzu Technologies, which sued a series of new companies.

Although some companies paid to license the patent, the expiration will mark a major change in the industry, says Kyle Machulis, a sex-toy expert who runs Metafetish. "While this patent was ostensibly focused on remote sexual interaction, it was being used as a sledgehammer against any company that might possibly develop extensible sex hardware." For example, Comingle shut down after legal threats against its crowdfunded educational sex toy. “This isn’t an industry with a lot of money, so even the threat of a lawsuit was enough to cause companies to fold right then and there,” Machulis adds.

The coming launch flood of remote-controlled sex toys may debatably be enjoyed. But it raises security concerns. “If we start to see more devices on the market, I fear we will see a new wave of security and privacy issues,” says Sarah Jamie Lewis, an independent privacy and security researcher and executive director of the Open Privacy Research Society. “Most sex tech devices and associated software are awful from a privacy, and often security, perspective.” They collect too much sensitive data, such as who you’re having sex with, and aren’t doing enough to protect it, with Lewis noting plenty don’t even use basic security like TLS to encrypt communications.

On the security side, researchers have revealed connected sex toys are trivial to hack, making that data collection all the more problematic, but it’s not only hacked or leaked information that we need to worry about, warns Lewis. “One of my biggest concerns is if that infrastructure is compromised in a larger way then we could see attackers manipulating partner match ups, and people might be controlling devices that they don’t have the consent to control,” she says.

It’s a horrifying thought, and given such implications, sex tech could, and should, lead the wider technology industry with state-of-the-art privacy protections, Lewis says. That could include group key exchanges to create trusted setups for multiple partners, using cryptocurrencies to avoid financial censorship, and using pluggable transports to disguise network traffic, “to make all sex tech related network traffic look like regular traffic – or, maybe even better make all regular traffic look like sex-tech traffic.”
Last year, Canadian sex toy maker We-Vibe was hit with a privacy class-action suit that led it to pay a settlement of £3 million, about £6,000 to each of its customers, after it was revealed the company’s connected vibrator collected sensitive user data, including when they were used, vibration settings, and more, linking it all to user email addresses.

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