Don’t worry; your sex toys probably haven’t been pwned… yet. But the future is coming to smack us in the face like a deer in the fast lane on a dark night.

Science fiction author Charlie Stross posted an unsettling blog post about the increasing ease with which tiny wifi-enabled computers can be invisibly embedded into your common household devices, stealing whatever info about you they can observe (or performing commercially valuable calculations using your “free” electricity) and phoning the plunder home without your knowledge over your own wifi network. (Not so long ago there was an unconfirmed story out of Russia — Charlie has the links — about electric kettles being manufactured and sold in this pwned condition to unsuspecting Europeans.)

I was reading along and taking all this in, parsing it (the way I tend to do) as just another pebble on the dystopian-tech-future beach, when I came upon this comment by troutwaxer that extended the futuristic speculation into a realm of interest more directly relevant to the ErosBlog readership:

Why be afraid of the kettle? That only tells people that you’ve had a spot of tea.

Your vibrator, on the other hand, knows all the really nasty secrets! If someone really wanted to spend money on learning about your sex life, you vibrator would know if you are male or female, how many lovers you have, and whether you do anal – and that’s just for starters. You could probably build a camera into any electrically powered sex toy, and a really expensive vibrator could probably sample DNA, or perhaps cancel it’s own noise and record sound…

What makes this much more interesting is that I’ve recently spent time in a chain of sex toy stores as an outside vendor. (They use a technology company I sometimes work for.) The high-end vibrators there can cost up to two hundred dollars and some of them have very fancy controllers (which I suspect aren’t analog.) I used to wonder why those high-end vibrators, which I suspect are bought by high-end people, were so expensive.

Now I know.

From now on any sex toys that get used in my house will be made of wood. I will carve them from a tree I planted myself.

I love a good wooden sex toy as well as the next historical reenactor, but that doesn’t make troutwaxer wrong: there’s quite a trend toward expensive fancy vibrators with a lot of sealed-unit unknown electronics inside. The day will come — sooner than you think — when you’ll want to be able to conduct a security audit on your own sex toys. Or, I suppose, there’s the alternative model, where you get sent an expensive sex toy for “free” that comes with terms of use allowing it to track and report on your sexual habits so that appropriate commercial offers can be more narrowly targeted at you. Gives LOVEINT and SEXINT new meaning!

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