iRobot CEO Clarifies Indoor Mapping Comment, Says Company 'Will Never Sell Your Data'

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    iRobot has responded to an article posted earlier this week by Reuters, in which it was said that company CEO Colin Angle "could reach a deal to sell its maps to one or more of the Big Three in the next couple of years," representing Apple, Amazon, and Google. Angle said that such shared data could bolster the intelligence of other smart home devices like light bulbs, thermostats, and security cameras.

    Many users became fearful of such personal home data flowing freely between multiple companies, and in response today Angle and an iRobot PR representative have confirmed that "iRobot will never sell your data." In a letter sent to ZDNet, Angle said that information gathered by its Roomba vacuums "needs to be controlled by the customer and not as a data asset of a corporation to exploit."

    iRobot CEO Colin Angle, Image via Reuters

    He went on to say that's how the company operates currently, and how it will continue to operate in the future.
    Additionally, ZDNet was able to further delve into Angle's original comments on the subject, asking what might have happened to spark an outbreak of privacy fear from the first article. When questioned whether the Reuters report was a "misinterpretation" on the subject of user data being sold to other companies, or a misstatement on Angle's part, iRobot responded by confirming that it was in fact a misinterpretation.
    The company went on to elaborate upon where exactly Roomba's mapping and navigation information is stored, confirming that all data for the Roomba 900 Series "stays on the robot." Usage data for Wi-Fi-enabled Roombas does get sent to the cloud to populate data logs on the connected smartphone app, but "images used for navigation are NOT sent to the cloud."

    The company also pointed out that its Roomba vacuums lack any sort of traditional camera systems, so images that they see don't divulge much in the way of detailed personal information in the first place.

    iRobot further iterated on the consent required for mapping data to be made available on the mobile app, saying that only if a user agrees can they see such a map of their homes created during the Roomba's cleaning schedule. If it is allowed, the data is sent to the cloud, processed and simplified so users can parse the data easily, but never sent anywhere else.

    Article Link: iRobot CEO Clarifies Indoor Mapping Comment, Says Company 'Will Never Sell Your Data'
  2. soupcan macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2014
    Oh sure, because companies always keep that promise /s
  3. smokestack macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2008
  4. DotComCTO macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2006
    I'm surprised it took so long for iRobot to backpedal on that bad plan!
  5. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    We won't sell it, it'll just become publicly available when we have a data breach.
  6. AngerDanger, Jul 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017

    AngerDanger macrumors 601


    Dec 9, 2008
    From the original Reuters article:
    From this article:
    It's hard to say without a direct quote, but it seems like there's a pretty wide gulf between what must've actually been said and Reuters's "misinterpretation." It makes one wonder what exactly could've been misinterpreted.

    "We won't sell data without permission."

    "Oh, so you won't sell data without permission?"

    "No, no, you're misinterpreting me. We'll never sell data."
  7. jmh600cbr macrumors 6502a


    Feb 14, 2012
    So they won’t sell it. They’ll jus give it away.
  8. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    They won't sell it now (after all the bad PR). :p
  9. nwcs macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2009
    Always a misinterpretation or taken out of context when they reveal their hand. It'll happen and probably already happens under the theory of "anonymized" data.
  10. Zxxv macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2011
    We will NEVER sell your data. UNTIL we sell the company. Then YOUR data is sold along with the company as its a nice way to raise the value of the company.
  11. nt5672 macrumors 68000

    Jun 30, 2007
    Ops, got caught. How do I know, because the answer would have been something like, "Reuters was wrong we never said that" if Roomba were not looking to sell the data. But they could not say that because Reuters would have taken them to the cleaners.
  12. EdT macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2007
    Omaha, NE
    "We won't sell your data".

    At least not right now. When it's worth more to other businesses then we'll see.
  13. CrystalQuest76 Suspended

    Dec 14, 2015
    West Cost A Lot
    As a fan of sci-fi i think the concept of a robot that is always moving around the house vacuuming is cool. I also think that its a useful device for individuals that are disabled.
    But come on, vacuuming is really not that hard or take up much effort. Lets stop looking for devices that allow us to be fat lazy individuals that don't get up and move around.
  14. pedzsan macrumors member


    May 22, 2016
    Leander, TX
    --- Post Merged, Jul 28, 2017 ---
    They (iRobot) could give some teeth to this promise by committing in an irrevocable legal document sent to each customer that they will pay the customer $1M each if the data ever escapes out of their hands.
  15. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Oct 13, 2008
  16. rictus007 macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    --- Post Merged, Jul 28, 2017 ---
    You can go to the gym while the robot vacuum your house.... for those who think that looking fat and lazy is a problem
  17. AlexH macrumors 68020


    Mar 7, 2006
    iRobot will now never have any of my data to sell.
  18. JosephAW macrumors 68020


    May 14, 2012
  19. Vasilioskn macrumors 6502


    Jun 30, 2010
    New York
    Was looking to buy this product in the next two months when I move. Not anymore. Any other suggestions ?
  20. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    So many companies that 'will never sell your data', but not committed to any penalty if/when they do.
  21. alexgowers macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2012
    I hate that all these companies storing sensitive data about your home, life and more. Yet there seems to be ZERO consequences for selling or loosing or leaking that data to a 3rdparty!

    I think the law needs to change whereby you are due compensation or at the very least fines are leveed against companies that get hacked or sell data. Though I'm aware as soon as you have fines in place it legitimises the selling of data rather than discourages it.

    While many, including myself are happy to share their data within reason, there should be an opt in to allow companies to hold and store data and another opt in to allow them sell it on.
  22. You are the One macrumors 6502a

    You are the One

    Dec 25, 2014
    In the present
    We never "sell" customer information. We protect our customers information at all times.

    We do have a partner program where "exchange" customer information with our "partners" to "improve" the product. But that is not "selling", although we get handsomely paid for it.
  23. ceriess macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2003
    --- Post Merged, Jul 29, 2017 ---
    I recommend taking their little spy out back and smashing it with a shovel.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 29, 2017 ---
    Buy a Dyson Animal vacuum. It has a REALLY good 5 year warranty. I have one and recently had a small connector clip go on it, and I brought it into a service center for repair. They also cleaned and replaced a whole bunch of other stuff on it while it was there. No charge. It really is a good vacuum.
  24. Boyd01 Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    My home is only around 1000 square feet. I sweep once a week and it takes about 15 minutes using a cheap little vacuum cleaner I bought more than 10 years ago. I hope I never become too lazy to do that myself. If you let little robots run around and map your house, you had better be prepared for the consequences. Regardless of the company policy, if the data is on their servers then it's at risk.

    How much of a risk is this? Don't know, it's probably pretty minor in the scheme of things. I would be much more worried if I had a stranger from a cleaning service in my house every week. ;)
  25. DynaFXD macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    East Coast
    Yes, because managing activities and keeping a neat abode has been the sticking point of modern civilization. Seriously, I am constantly amazed by the dissonance between seemingly labor saving devices and the effort needed to make space for, maintain, and haul around said devices. Vendors have done a great job of convincing people that micro-managing their existence (smart home, real time security systems, wifi-freaking-refrigerators) or obtaining yet another albatross-around-your-neck-possession that is marginally effective at their tasks but ' has the technology' is actually a good use of their time and money. Just who on earth would think that getting a device that can map out their home which then uploads those maps to some unknown destination for some spurious use is actually a 'good thing'? Probably the same people that thinks "You know what would be a good idea? Let's fill our home with wifi enabled security cameras that broadcast our information across the open 'net and let's also add a live open mic that sits in the middle of the room and can literally hear every word we speak. What could possibly go wrong with that?"
    Sorry for the rant, maybe I finally have reached the "get off my lawn" years. But I had no idea this thing was actually mapping houses and sending the data up. I just thought it had some self learning AI. Just because technology can do something doesn't mean that we should embrace it. Sheesh.

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