If you’ve ever bought inexpensive goods online, there’s a chance that their poorly-written instruction manuals were supplemented with a card pointing to a quickly-made YouTube video that does a better job of explaining how to use your new thing. The videos are usually narrated by a Mandarin speaker with a decent grasp of conversational English and royalty-free music. But only one of these videos is for an internet-enabled penis-restraining “chastity” device, and only one of them is backed with the “Super Mario” theme, enhanced with extra synths and sampled sexy moans.
The device in question is the Qiui Cellmate Chastity Cage, which “lets users hand over access to their genitals to a partner who can lock and unlock the cage remotely using an app.”
While there are all sorts penis cages that you can buy — there are dozens on Amazon (and now that I’ve looked at the web page, I’m seeing all kinds of promos and ads for all sorts of…things) — the Cellmate is an “internet of things” device. It’s connected to the internet, which means that you can control it with an app, which means that if you’re the Donald in the relationship, you can slap this bad boy on the penis of your Lyndsey, and you can control their penile freedom from theoretically anywhere in the world.
The problem is that the API — application programming interface, which is basically the way that the app talks to the device — isn’t secure. The appropriately-named Pen Test Partners, a UK security firm, have proven that it’s possible for an unauthorized party to remotely seize control of the device and permanently lock in your nether bits. It also lets you access the user’s messages and location.
(Oddly enough, I just landed a job for a company whose product can be used to secure APIs. Qiui, if you’re interested, drop me a line.)
Even without the internet vulnerability, there’s the matter of another flaw — the device has a knack for unexpectedly locking you in. And there’s no emergency override function. If you’re locked in, you’re locked in. And apparently, once you’re locked in, the only way to get out is with the delicate use of bolt cutters or an angle grinder.
By way of explanation, Qiui chief executive said in emails to TechCrunch, “We are a basement team…When we fix it, it creates more problems.”
If you’re looking for some kind of penis-restraining device, don’t buy the Cellmate.
And if you’re making an instruction video for a commercial product and you’re not Nintendo, don’t use the “Super Mario” theme as background music.