Amazon recently purchased iRobot, the Roomba vacuum maker, to enhance their smart home suite of products. But what effect can this have on keeping your data private?

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So, what information is your vacuum collecting? Most models keep details online of your home’s floorplan. Those with cameras are capturing photos of your home and its contents. It can also give information about your lifestyle and your daily living patterns. According to iRobot, the following data is also collected:

  • Billing information
  • Mailing address
  • Social media accounts, if you signed up through one
  • Any data from other devices you’ve connected to, including your smartphone

Combining this data with Amazon’s already extensive database of personal profiles can give them greater access to personalized marketing information. Amazon may be able to target their ads even more than they already do. Does this mean I need to give up the convenience of a robot cleaning machine? No, but as a user, you need to know what data can be collected and adjust your privacy settings as needed.

From a 2017 New York Times article, “But the data, if shared, could also be a windfall for marketers, and the implications are easy to imagine. No armchair in your living room? You might see ads for armchairs next time you open Facebook. Did your Roomba detect signs of a baby? Advertisers might target you accordingly.”

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