Your Roomba vacuum cleaner may sell the map of your house

2 min. read Published: Updated at:

Roomba is that little vacuum cleaner that explores your house or flat on it’s own and cleans the floors without any action required from your site. At the moment the small robot of the 900 series, made by the company iRobot, maps your home to optimize his cleaning efforts. All data collected is used to improve the paths used by your little friend. However, as stated by the CEO of iRobot, Colin Angle, your little friend may become a problem for your privacy. Colin Angle explained his plans to sell the mapping data of his Roomba customers to large companies like Apple, Google or Amazon “in the next couple of years”. He outlined that the mapping data may be useful for targeted advertisement for home goods and home improvements. “With regularly updated maps, Hoffman [a robotics professor at Cornell University] said, sound systems could match home acoustics, air conditioners could schedule airflow by room and smart lighting could adjust according to the position of windows and time of day.”

Besides these wonderful new visions of what could be possible there are downsides straight away: privacy and security. A complete, regular-updated map of your house is a security issue even if the data is not sold to anyone but indeed it’s stored in some servers in the cloud that the robot is able to access, for sure connected by a user account. As we know from many other data breaches: no cloud-based service is 100% safe. The other downside is privacy. “Angle said iRobot would not sell data without its customers’ permission […]” which is quite acceptable for the moment but it needs to be clearly explained to the user that the map of his house is not only uploaded to iRobot but also shared with other companies. And without doubt the data will also be sold to other companies than Google or Amazon, companies that you might not even heard of.


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