Consent in the age of big data and connected sex toys

Consent in the age of big data and connected sex toys

In sex, the concept of consent is fundamental. But how can you give informed, enthusiastic consent to a ‘smart’ sex toy that comes with terms and conditions you can’t possibly hope to understand, let alone read in its entirety.

Mystery Vibe co-founder and Chief Pleasure Officer, Stephanie Alys, explored how her company maintains a consenting, honest relationship with its customers. In an industry where trust is essential, and once it has been broken cannot be repaired, Mystery Vibe has created a strategy that emphasizes radical transparency and honesty.

The first pillar in the Mystery Vibe approach is communication. Anyone who buys a Mystery Vibe product should understand what they’ve bought, and how it works. This is explained in clear, approachable language — not impenetrable legalese, as is the standard for tech products.

The second is consent. Alys was eager to emphasize that this isn’t merely checking a box, but rather an informed, explicit acknowledgement of how the device should work.

Mystery Vibe lets customers choose to disable the ‘smart’ features of their device explicitly, or have them activated, but not sharing data to the cloud. How it works is entirely to the customer, and what they’re comfortable with

As Alys explained, “Agreement is about trying to get a ‘yes’, but consent is about asking ‘what do you want?’ and respecting all answers equally.”

Finally, there’s commitment. Mystery Vibe commits itself to an active, communicative relationship with its customers. It also aims to constantly evaluate ways to protect its customers, and their data.

Alys said the company is looking into is anonymizing all data uploaded to its servers and publishing the datasets publicly. This does two things. First, it makes the data worthless to an attacker. It also makes Mystery Vibe a less enticing target to a bad actor.

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