Um! A little privacy please?!
Since 2002, Roombas have revolutionized the way we keep our floors free of dirt and dust. Over the years, these compact, self-reliant robot vacuums have done nothing but grow in variety and proficiency. In fact, studies show that as of 2019, over 14 million households in the United States own a Roomba.
Roombas have definitely made our lives easier, but what happens when they don’t function as expected?
For this woman, the embarrassing outcome was revealed when pictures of her sitting on the toilet were uploaded to the internet by her little robot companion.
In early September, information regarding the mortifying data leak from the new Roomba J7 series broke out. As horrifying as it sounds, iRobot, creator of the Roomba, stated that taking pictures is something the Roomba and other products of theirs have been doing since 2020.They also added that the pictures were gathered by “special development robots with hardware and software modifications that are not and never have been present on iRobot consumer products for purchase.”
iRobot also shared that the robots had been dispersed to “paid collectors and employees” who signed official contracts allowing the company to use any data obtained by the Roomba for quality and training purposes.
A total of 15 photos, including the unsuspecting woman, were uploaded to Facebook along with the other 2 million images shared with Scale AI.
These test devices were clearly marked with labels that indicated the active recording that was taking place. iRobot also noted that their test subjects were advised to “remove anything they deem sensitive from any location the robot operates in, including children.”
When asked for an interview with the product testers and copies of the contracts, iRobot refused.
CEO of iRobot, Colin Angle, has since announced that the company will be “terminating its relationship with the service provider who leaked the images, is actively investigating the matter, and [is] taking measures to help prevent a similar leak by any service provider in the future.”
Of course, people are freaking out concerning their private matters being exposed by their seemingly not so trustworthy robots. Guess it’s time to whip out the good ol’ broom and dustpan!