Your Roomba May Be Selling Maps of Your Home

Roomba Maker Preparing to Sell Maps of Your Home to Advertisers

Roomba Is Hoping To Sell The Maps Of Your Home To The Highest Bidder

Amazon declined to comment.

Shares in IRobot rose 8 percent in late trading in NY to $97.60.

"The Roomba robotic vacuum has been whizzing across floors for years, but its future may lie more in collecting data than dirt", begins the Reuters feature, calling out an underlying fear pervasive in our uber-connected world.

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iRobot CEO Colin Angle told Reuters that the mapping technology found in the high-end models of the Roomba could have a significant impact in improving the services offered by smart home devices.

Angle believes Roomba's data could help smart home devices better understand their environment, like matching sound systems to a home's acoustics, or changing an air conditioner's air flow based on how sun shines through windows in a particular room. Specifically, the company is "working to build an ecosystem of robots and data to enable the smart home", according to its web site.

Don't own those or other products? Customers could find it "sort of a scary thing", he said. Opening a smartphone with a stored fingerprint scan, locating a child through a tracking app, unlocking a front door via a smart lock that also knows your daily routine: These are just a few ways smart devices collect users daily activities and data in return for an enhanced experience. While he notes that there already are "targeted laws and liability norms" to help curb potential problems, companies will need to develop "privacy-by-design" and "security-by-design" strategies to ensure that data handling is done properly and reliably.

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How exactly the opt-in will look to the end user remains to be seen - hopefully it will be more transparent than fine print at the bottom of some lengthy terms of service, detailing how and to whom data is sold. Angle said a deal could be reached with any of these companies within the next couple of years (or maybe, one of those companies will come knocking with a pile of cash large enough to buy the company outright).

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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