Roomba robot cleaner to gather data on houses

26 July, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Roomba Maker Preparing to Sell Maps of Your Home to Advertisers

Of course, if you ever opted into Clean Map Reports, you technically already gave iRobot that permission. They are in discussion with Apple, Amazon and Alphabet to determine a price at which iRobot will sell them the map of the parts of your house which your Roomba has traversed.

The automatic vacuums began mapping homes two years ago in order to clean them better, but now iRobot CEO Colin Angle wants to use that data, possibly to inform speaker-type assistants like Amazon's Alexa about how to best go about automating other home appliances or to generate ads, USA Today reported.

The 900-series Roomba vacuums use simultaneous localization and mapping, or SLAM, technology to map out rooms while they clean, storing information on the layouts of rooms and the location of furniture.

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"There's an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared", Angle told Reuters.

One of the problems with covering the decline of privacy in the digital age is the very concept that people should have the right to control how their information is bought, sold, and monetized is fundamentally opposed to most digital company business models (not to mention government policy). Some homeowners may be uncomfortable with the idea of virtual blueprints of their home stored in a cloud accessible by tech companies that could already have significant information about them.

More than just automatically, seamlessly sweeping up dirt, (and inspiring cat-shuttling compilations on YouTube), Angle's vision for the Roomba places the domestic bot in service of improving the smart home. Well, what if Amazon could call up a recently created map of your house and suggest more items for purchase? The competition is focused on making cleaning products, not a mapping robot'.

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If you own a Roomba smart vacuum, it would be wise to keep an eye on any privacy or ToS updates in the near future.

iRobot claims that their system will not sell data "without customer permission". We have to admit that it looks pretty wonderful in action, but did you also consider the fact that while it is navigating your home that it is also collecting data about it?

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