Roomba Is Mapping Your House to Make IoT Gadgets Smarter

Roomba Maker Preparing to Sell Maps of Your Home to Advertisers

You can't, for example, simply pay an extra $100 to own your data in perpetuity, or even a monthly fee to cover the benefits of smart home technology without data sharing to the larger environment. Those companies declined or did not respond to Reuters seeking additional comment.

In a recent interview with Reuters, iRobot co-founder and CEO Colin Angle said his company may sell maps of users' homes to third-party companies working on smart home devices.

One potential downside is that selling data about users' homes raises clear privacy issues, said Ben Rose, an analyst who covers iRobot for Battle Road Research. They are in discussion with Apple, Amazon and Alphabet to determine a price at which iRobot will sell them the map of the parts of your house which your Roomba has traversed. When I read him Angle's statement, he was caught off guard.

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"However, iRobot already appears to have permission to use its customers' data through its posted Privacy Policy, which clearly states that the company can share or sell a user's personal information ".in connection with any company transaction, such as a merger, sale of all or a portion of company assets or shares". "We do hope to extract value from the information, but would only do so with the permission of our customers... It is still unclear what -if any - actual "partnerships" would be needed to make that happen".

iRobot has already introduced integration with Amazon's Alexa assistant, launching the functionality back in March this year. "Getting that done required conversations", he explained. These companies could buy this data and combine it with the telemetry they get from their devices and built user profiles that they can sell down the road to classic advertising companies, or offer advertising inside their products. For the moment, it seems that the company may have gotten a bit ahead of itself in the discussion around the role the Roomba will play in the connected home.

If user data is so valuable to tech companies, individuals ought to have the right to either share in the profits companies gain from selling it, or to pay for their data to be kept private at a cost that reflects the wholesale value of their private data.

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