‘Ask all the time: why do I need this?’ How to stop your vacuum from spying on you

This month, Amazon inked a deal to acquire smart vacuum company iRobot – the makers of Roomba – for a tidy US$1.7bn. As some see it, if the purchase goes through, that should worry us.

“It’s all about the data,” says David Vaile from the Australian Privacy Foundation.

Privacy advocates such as Vaile are concerned the robot vacuum cleaner will give Amazon access to floor plans of users’ homes, using mapping features some iRobot products already offer.

Amazon are yet to release details about what existing and future iRobot data will be used for; and the company told Reuters that they safeguard customer privacy and do not sell their data.

But Vaile says of big tech companies: “They’re about collecting data, and the products and services are really just bait to lure and hopefully lock in unsuspecting data subjects.

“Their opportunities for manipulating you and exploiting you, once they’ve spied on you, are more or less open-ended and getting broader all the time.”


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This article was written by Katie Cunningham and originally published on www.theguardian.com