Roomba hoovers customers' home mapping data
Occurred: July 2017
iRobot, manufacturer of the robo-vacuum Roomba, has been considering selling data of customer to companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon, according to Reuters.
During the interview, iRobot CEO Colin Angle said '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 said. He also told said that iRobot could reach a deal with Amazon, Alphabet, or Apple within the next couple of years to share their maps of users’ homes.'
However, the company later claimed Angle's words had been taken out of context and that it had no plans to sell customer data. iRobot added support for Amazon’s Alexa voice recognition AI in March 2017. In August 2022, Amazon announced a deal to acquire iRobot.
The news incensed privacy advocates worried about the unethical sharing and commodification of sensitive personal data.
Sector: Consumer goods
Purpose: Build spatial map
Technology: Spatial mapping
Issue: Privacy; Surveillance
Transparency: Governance; Privacy
News, commentary, analysis
Published: September 2023