VACUUM CLEANER COMPANY iRobot, responsible for the 'smart' Roomba vacuum, is considering doing something really dumb - selling user mapping data to companies that would hand over how your house is laid out.
The latest Roomba models have a mapping feature. This makes it easier for the thing to make its way around the home sucking up crap and dust and probably anything that you have left on the floor. It might also be handy for tech giants, which is why iRobot chief executive Colin Angle told Reuters that the firm would be up for selling the information.
"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," he said.
Angle has three firms in mind, Apple, Amazon and Alphabet. Roomba already communicated with Amazon, and he expects to have something official done with at least one of the firms by 2020.
That's him, though, and we can assume that the three companies will have an interest in the mapping information because we know that they want to have as much data on humans as they possibly can. People though, well they are another thing completely and on Twitter the response is negative.
I was thinking of upgrading my iRoomba- but not any longer.— Kitara Feline (@Catselan) July 25, 2017
People have threatened to dump their Roomba and buy an alternative, and have voiced their concerns about privacy. Privacy was the first thing that came to our mind, so we can't imagine how Angle let those words fall out of his mouth without considering the response.
hey @iRobot, if you start selling my home data to other companies, I will sell my Roomba vacuum cleaner and buy another brand.— Renai LeMay (@renailemay) July 25, 2017
Still, while he was at it he also waxed about patents, how many patents his company has and how that gives it something of an advantage over the competition. "[Patents are a] huge part of our competitive moat," he said. "It is getting really hard not to step on our intellectual property."
Woah. Someone put a lid on him. µ
We should be shocked, but...
But the search giant has now squashed the bug
But it's not yet available here in Blighty