Roomba walks back plan to sell maps of your house to Amazon and Google


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/29/whats-a-firmware-update.html


#2

Maps can be used, or misused, as with any other tool. I don’t support private fire companies, but I do appreciate the legacy of useful anonymous information they left in their wake:


#3

Last night I was thinking that I wouldn’t mind having a map of the house for a status display of my cameras and motion detectors.


#4

How about when you want to remodel?!? If I could send painters a 3D scan of my actual house from the inside, or ‘virtually’ repaint or paper walls… this data would have to come from somewhere, why not the roomba?


#5

Because roomba, like any company, wants to make more money, and that data is valuable. And your right to privacy is only worth what you fight for.

Besides, a non IoT device could do that just fine.


#6

If you buy an ioT vaccuum cleaner I’d have to say you’re fighting for your privacy wrong.

Do you have a right to a robot vacuum without IOt functionality? Because remember, we both have the right to not put one of these things in our own houses.


#7

Remember also that “not buying it” is only one of the ways that you can make markets more efficient and responsive, and that discussing the defects in products is significantly more important than the mere fact of your spending decisions:


#8

and clearly such discussions, on why one will not or might not buy it, have had an effect. Thanks for hosting one.


#9

But wait… I thought information wants to be free? Maybe that’s just your information, not mine?


#10

Not accurate enough. Get a tape measure and/or measuring stick. And/or one of them laser thingies if you must. Paper & pencil for making a rough draft to put in the measurements and some notes. Pro tip: always measure the diagonals of the room. Right angles between walls often aren’t.
Turn rough draft & measurements into proper plan. CAD is very good for that, but not a must. With the right kind of CAD software you can do this in 3D, but that’s usually more of a “nice to have” than “essential to the project”.
While drawing the plans you will discover that you have forgotten to take a couple of measures and have fucked up some others. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of.


#11

I’ll believe him when they add this to their terms of service: “Roomba will never gather, sell, give or use any personal information about you or your home in any fashion or make such available to third parties in any manner. The only use of your house layout will be made by the device itself to perform its cleaning functions.”

And that will never happen.


#12

“Roomba walks back plan…” should really read “Roomba plan hits a wall, backs off slightly & shifts direction.”


#13

I bought a secondhand irobot to mop my kitchen and bathroom floors. There is a ‘navigation cube’ that adds another level of accuracy to how it cleans, but my house is small enough it isn’t really necessary. iRobots are glitchy; the company hasn’t really gotten the bugs out yet, and the response I got when I asked about repairing my irobot when it had a sensor glitch was a suggestion to ‘buy a new one’, not where to get replacement parts or contact a service center. If the iRobot maps my house, there will be a big section where it consistently gets stuck under the refrigerator or the storage cart in the bathroom.


#14

I wouldn’t believe them if they did, given the way corporations routinely lie.


#15

We all know who really controls the Roomba!
Its all an evil plot by your cat.


#16

Or a map for a mouse to figure out where to hide and go. :wink:


#17

I didn’t buy it myself, but am currently in a household with a 980. Of course I could move. Theoretically speaking, that is.

Just by the way, a serious question: if the Roomba is not uploading the map, how does it arrive in the app? The robot is not in the same network as the control device, here.

Also, see my remarks on the older thread: what about the claims I remember? Airgapped, never leaves the robot, is constructed anew every time the robot runs and not saved? This are quite specific claims, and while I know how awfully memory works, I have my doubts that I invented them. Where the hell did I get this from?


#18

“The mere thought,” growled Mr. Prosser, “hadn’t even begun to speculate,” he continued, settling himself back, “about the merest possibility of crossing my mind.”


#19

not accurate enough for a computer to square it off and give you an opportunity to click on a wall and change it’s color/pattern? I think it could be plenty accurate to get an idea for design and remodel.

The rest of your advice is sound, but based on a level of precision I don’t require.


#20

In that case, why not just get a couple of colour swatches from the place where you’d buy the paint?