iRobot CEO insists company won't sell Roomba home data [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2017
Despite a report suggesting the contrary, iRobot is not planning to sell data from 900 Series Roombas to companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon, CEO Colin Angle said in a statement published on Friday.




"First things first, iRobot will never sell your data," Angle wrote in response to questions from ZDNet. "Information that is shared needs to be controlled by the customer and not as a data asset of a corporation to exploit. That is how data is handled by iRobot today. Customers have control over sharing it. I want to make very clear that this is how data will be handled in the future," he said later in the statement.

A PR representative claimed that the earlier report was a "misinterpretation" of Angle's statements.

"Colin never said that iRobot would look to sell customer maps or data to other companies," the person said. "iRobot has not had any conversations with other companies about data transactions, and iRobot will not sell customer data."

On the information the 900 Series collects, the representative said that vSLAM mapping and navigation data stays on the robot, and any images used aren't uploaded to the cloud. Maps and usage data may be uploaded, but only for use in the iRobot Home app.

"It's also important to point out that the camera doesn't see things like we do," iRobot said. "The robot perceives its environment as a pattern of light and dark points in its field of view. This pattern enables the Roomba 900 Series to localize or confirm its position on the map, so it can clean an entire level of a home. The camera is a low-resolution camera that is tracking multiple points of a room, such as along the edges of a table or light and dark contrasts of a window on a wall. It uses these points of reference to continually build and update its map of rooms within a home."

The earlier story raised fears that companies like iRobot might sell maps of people's homes to other businesses, whether for software and services, or to recommend more products.

Update: iRobot sent the following statement to AppleInsider:
iRobot does not sell data customer data. Our customers always come first. We will never violate our customer's trust by selling or misusing customer-related data, including data collected by our connected products. Right now, the data Roomba collects enables it to effectively clean the home and provides customers with information about cleaning performance. iRobot believes that in the future, this information could provide even more value for our customers by enabling the smart home and the devices within it to work better, but always with their explicit consent.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,300member
    I swear on my grandmother's grave that iRobot will never sell your data... unless an offer I can't refuse comes along.
    watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Forget selling the data, I ALSO wouldn't want the data to be GIVEN away.  Nor do I want it to become accessible to Google, when Google buys iRobot.  In short, I don't want iRobot to be transmitting ANY data outside of my home.  The data belongs to ME, not to them.  They should not have it AT ALL.

    Far too many companies are able to "buy" data simply by buying the company that holds the data.  Happens all the time.  Should be stopped!

    Similarly, this is why there will be no Alexa in my home.  Ever.
    edited July 2017 rotateleftbytestevenozlostkiwiwatto_cobramizhoucornchiplolliver
  • Reply 3 of 13
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,154member
    Forget selling the data, I ALSO wouldn't want the data to be GIVEN away.  Nor do I want it to become accessible to Google, when Google buys iRobot.  In short, I don't want iRobot to be transmitting ANY data outside of my home.  The data belongs to ME, not to them.  They should not have it AT ALL.

    Far too many companies are able to "buy" data simply by buying the company that holds the data.  Happens all the time.  Should be stopped!

    Similarly, this is why there will be no Alexa in my home.  Ever.
    So you’re fine with sending your info to Apple so they can make products they sell to you better, but when this company goes with the same line that Apple does and wants info to make the products better you don’t want that? You don’t make sense. 
    sphericgatorguylowededwookie
  • Reply 4 of 13
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,040member
    Forget selling the data, I ALSO wouldn't want the data to be GIVEN away.  Nor do I want it to become accessible to Google, when Google buys iRobot.  In short, I don't want iRobot to be transmitting ANY data outside of my home.  The data belongs to ME, not to them.  They should not have it AT ALL.

    Far too many companies are able to "buy" data simply by buying the company that holds the data.  Happens all the time.  Should be stopped!

    Similarly, this is why there will be no Alexa in my home.  Ever.
    So you’re fine with sending your info to Apple so they can make products they sell to you better, but when this company goes with the same line that Apple does and wants info to make the products better you don’t want that? You don’t make sense. 
          Actually it is you, who doesn't make sense. For some reason you assumed that if companies can and do collect data, it is exactly the same data they collect and it is the same methods of how they treat that data. Wrong.
          Besides, unlike those smaller companies (like iRobot), Apple is not trying to make a quick buck by selling any available to them data. They know that long term commitment to client privacy will win them more clients in the long run, which is gonna eventually bring a lot more money, comparing to what they would get by selling that data now..
    iRobot, unlike Apple, does not have that luxury, so they do what they can....which sometimes can go against client privacy.
    edited July 2017 lostkiwianantksundarambaconstangteaearlegreyhotlolliver
  • Reply 6 of 13
    Forget selling the data, I ALSO wouldn't want the data to be GIVEN away.  Nor do I want it to become accessible to Google, when Google buys iRobot.  In short, I don't want iRobot to be transmitting ANY data outside of my home.  The data belongs to ME, not to them.  They should not have it AT ALL.

    Far too many companies are able to "buy" data simply by buying the company that holds the data.  Happens all the time.  Should be stopped!

    Similarly, this is why there will be no Alexa in my home.  Ever.
    So you’re fine with sending your info to Apple so they can make products they sell to you better, but when this company goes with the same line that Apple does and wants info to make the products better you don’t want that? You don’t make sense. 
    Apple does not collect data without letting you know (there were a couple of minor instances, for example, in the early days of the iPhone, but which Apple immediately fixed).

    Looks like these guys didn't come clean until they were caught out. And even then, it would appear they're not stopping the data collection. 
    baconstangteaearlegreyhotanton zuykovlolliverrandomthot2
  • Reply 7 of 13
    JohnDeeJohnDee Posts: 36member
    There's a clue in the words "that this is how data will be handled in the future".
    Don't forget the word "FUTURE".
    In legal speak this means that the past was different.....
    cornchiplolliver
  • Reply 8 of 13
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 827member
    Now Mr. Colin make an iRobot with HomeKit capability so I can buy one or two or three of your little spies.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,040member
    Looks like these guys didn't come clean until they were caught out. And even then, it would appear they're not stopping the data collection. 
    Why would they stop? It is not like they will use the data later, when they decide to boost their market value by offering collected data to Google, as a part of some shady deal. 
  • Reply 10 of 13
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,389member
    JohnDee said:
    There's a clue in the words "that this is how data will be handled in the future".
    Don't forget the word "FUTURE".
    In legal speak this means that the past was different.....
    Noticed that too...
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Irobot recieve cash for data collected by my Roomba? All i have to say is buyer beware; thing can't even find its way out of the room its dock is located in.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    iRobot, unlike Apple, does not have that luxury, so they do what they can....which sometimes can go against client privacy.
    Why does iRobot not have the luxury to collect data without selling it? Do you assume that any company that isn't Apple MUST be unscrupulous? Why?

    What evidence beyond a report from an analyst - and we all know how good reports from analysts are - do we have the Roomba actually uploads saleable data? I mean black and white shades aren't very good data if you don't have the software to make sense of the data.

    It seems to me that Roomba are just as much victims of false information as Apple is but when Apple comes out and says "We don't sell data" you believe them but when Roomba do it you don't believe them. I have not read anything that makes me believe that Roomba are unscrupulous so I'm willing to give them benefit of the doubt unless someone can give me some information that didn't come from "unnamed sources" in an analyst report.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,396member
    Forget selling the data, I ALSO wouldn't want the data to be GIVEN away.  Nor do I want it to become accessible to Google, when Google buys iRobot.  In short, I don't want iRobot to be transmitting ANY data outside of my home.  The data belongs to ME, not to them.  They should not have it AT ALL.

    Far too many companies are able to "buy" data simply by buying the company that holds the data.  Happens all the time.  Should be stopped!

    Similarly, this is why there will be no Alexa in my home.  Ever.
    Since the new Roombas use wi-fi to map out the layout of the house, it's conceivable that a Roomba could be compromised through the router and data collected via some unknown exploit.
Sign In or Register to comment.