Roomba wants to sell the maps of the inside of your home it created while cleaning


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/26/military-contractor-ethics.html


#2

Do they encrypt and protect against man-in-the-middle? I’d connect it through that special router that poisons their data about my massive underground complex.


#3

Rise of the dirt vacuums.


#4

How marketable is something like this? What good it makes for an advertiser to know that your home is certain square feet, and that there are some obstacles at certain points (it would’t even be able to tell a bump from a couch or a piano and offer sofa covers instead of sheet music). Unless, of course, next step is adding cameras to iRobot. I can already see the upskirts leaking on 4chan.


#5

Huh. I actually didn’t know that it keeps a map. My family bought a Roomba a year or two ago and its pathfinding algorithm seems to be “hug an obstacle, after a random amount of time turn in a random direction and move until you hit an obstacle, then hug that obstacle…”


#6

How’s Roomba going to deal with the GDPR?


#7

Where can I buy the data?


#8

A modest proposal: if it wont’ be too horrible a deprivation to not be part of the early adopter crowd, maybe the best solution is just to resign yourself to living in a 100% dumb home for the time being*. Be honest: do you really need a robot vacuum cleaner, or lights that you can control from your phone so you don’t have to stand up and walk over to the switch?

  • Until the revolution happens and companies are forced to improve their security and stop treating their customers like commodities, or else until such time as somebody actually manages to make a smart home device that isn’t a complete waste of time and money.

#9

Anybody know if this thing will still clean your room without being connected to Wi-Fi?


#10

The capitalist robber barons are getting bored with legal larceny and want to try doing a bit of old fashioned cat burglary. They need maps of the inside of your home so they know where to go, and being the silicon valley tech heads that they are, they decided to sell you household robots to act as their spies.

Just be glad the robots are not armed… yet. I am sure the Roomba 1200 will come fully equipped to hold you up at taserpoint and then roll out your front door with your stuff.


#11

Unless I missed something, the article says that irobot is currently working on a deal with Amazon and Google to make the roomba compatible with Alexa. And that until then (and currently) Roombas are not connected to the web and are not transmitting any data.


#12

The Roomba will soon provide a spectographic analysis of the things it picks up from your filthy filthy floor and boy will the targeted ad companies have a field day…


#13

I take a wild guess here: Amazon, google and Apple are in a turf war about smart home gadgets and software. How many rooms your flat or house has and the layout is interesting for them to sell you more gadgets.

“FROM: marketing@amazon.com
TO: sigmund_hotlover@yahoo.com
SUBJECT: Echo dot 5% off
Irritated about the sound quality in your kitchen when playing your favorite song “Aqua - Barbie girl” from your living rooms Echo? Why don’t you get another Alexa device? The Echo dot is perfect for your 150 ft² kitchen!”


#14

AFAICT, Only the latest generation (900 series) of rhoombas have wifi, ostensibly to let them have a smartphone app.

Probably? Since wifi is only a very recent addition and the base technology long predates the IOT madness? Or just buy a one-generation older model.

Well, the new ones have wifi, so all it will take is a firmware update.


#15

The data collected by the Roomba will be freely available on Google Maps including directions to the bathroom and the weight of the cat that rides it.


#16

Make it wear a tiny Roomba-sized faraday cage?


#17

Even simpler: refuse to tell it your wifi password, no matter how much it begs and pleads to be allowed to surf the net while it recharges.


#18

That’s the way mine works. I have an older one that I picked up cheap on Craigslist and refurbished. Works like a champ but there’s no specific pattern to its cleaning. It gets the job done though.


#19

All robovacs use short-range infrared or laser sensors to detect and avoid obstacles, but iRobot in 2015 added a camera, new sensors and software to its flagship 900-series Roomba that gave it the ability to build a map while keeping track of their own location within it.

And it has wifi.

I’m not seeing my benefit in their grandiose business model of selling my privacy, so if someone gave me one, messing with their data would be a moral imperative.


#20

I’ve seen how they work. I’m pretty sure it’s more spirographic.