iRobot’s Roomba is a high end self propelled floor cleaner. It reminds me of the Polaris cleaning system that many pools utilize to remove debris and dirt. Recently, the CEO of iRobot, Colin Angle, was interviewed by Reuters and during his interview he mentioned that he was interested in selling your home’s floor mapping information to other companies. His ignorance of the significant security, safety, and privacy issues this plan raises was apparent when he actually defended this unethical and very troubling idea.
Regardless of whether mapping your home is opt-in or opt-out it is an extremely troubling idea. Why? Because of the risks associated with collecting the data in the first place. The servers that house your home’s mapping data will be a huge honeypot and target for hackers, cyber criminals, burglars, murderers, governments (foreign and domestic) for all sorts of purposes including tax assessments, prosecutors, and civil lawyers (e.g. court subpoenas in divorce, personal injury, breach of contract, etc.).
Do you care if your Roomba information is utilized against you in criminal proceedings or civil lawsuits? Do you want the entire world to know exactly what is in your home? Anyone who wants to understand the layout of your home to harm your family will now want access to your Roomba data and they will find a way to obtain it. If Sony, OPM, the NSA, the DNC, etc.. couldn’t protect their data what makes iRobot think it can protect your personal home information? Hubris?
I was considering purchasing a Roomba until I heard about Mr. Angle’s plan to sell my family’s personal information acquired from the interior of my home. He can try to better explain his “vision”, walk back his statements, or use his pr machine to try to massage the message; however, the bottom line is that he is more interested in putting corporate profits ahead of his customer’s personal privacy, safety, and security.
JUST SAY NO (Thanks Nancy Reagan) to iRobot’s troubling plan to sell out your personal safety, security, and privacy for corporate profit. I know my family will. Will yours?