Discussion:
the spy under the bed
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Questor
2017-07-27 02:42:08 UTC
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Your Roomba May Be Mapping Your Home, Collecting Data That Could Be Sold
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/technology/roomba-irobot-data-privacy.html

"High-end models of Roomba, iRobot’s robotic vacuum, collect data as they clean,
identifying the locations of your walls and furniture. This helps them avoid
crashing into your couch, but it also creates a map of your home that iRobot is
considering selling to Amazon, Apple or Google."

All the attendant issues -- and risks -- of collecting such data apply: consent,
privacy, security, data persistence, mis-use, law enforcement, etc.

And how long until robot ransomware? "Send us three bitcoin or you'll never get
your Roomba out from under the couch."
Bob
2017-07-27 03:00:24 UTC
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Post by Questor
Your Roomba May Be Mapping Your Home, Collecting Data That Could Be Sold
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/technology/roomba-irobot-data-privacy.html
"High-end models of Roomba, iRobot’s robotic vacuum, collect data as they clean,
identifying the locations of your walls and furniture. This helps them avoid
crashing into your couch, but it also creates a map of your home that iRobot is
considering selling to Amazon, Apple or Google."
So they can burglarize you?
bill van
2017-07-27 05:43:33 UTC
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Post by Bob
Post by Questor
Your Roomba May Be Mapping Your Home, Collecting Data That Could Be Sold
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/technology/roomba-irobot-data-p
rivacy.htm l
"High-end models of Roomba, iRobot’s robotic vacuum, collect data
as they clean, identifying the locations of your walls and
furniture. This helps them avoid crashing into your couch, but it
also creates a map of your home that iRobot is considering
selling to Amazon, Apple or Google."
So they can burglarize you?
Always follow the link if you're going to ask questions based on
assumptions that you wouldn't make if you'd followed the link and
read the story.

It's a lightweight piece written for the New York Times; it's not up
to the standards of the NYT's own reporting. I suspect it's part of
an online thing featuring a lot of freelance copy. The story suggests
ways marketers could use data about what's in your living room to try
to sell you high-end stuff. They know you're high-end -- or at least
mid-end -- because you own a Roomba.

Nothing in the story about burglary, and the stuff about marketing is
guesswork with little to no attribution. The only thing from Roomba
is a carefully worded statement to the effect that a decision to sell
Roomba data or not has not been made, and if it is made, it won't be
for a few years. That probably means they're thinking about it and
that they're awaiting legal opinions about whether they could be sued
or charged with anything.
--
bill
B***@BillTurlock.com
2017-07-27 18:48:44 UTC
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On Wed, 26 Jul 2017 22:43:33 -0700, bill van
Post by bill van
Post by Bob
So they can burglarize you?
That's what I wanna know!
Post by bill van
Always follow the link if you're going to ask questions based on
assumptions that you wouldn't make if you'd followed the link and
read the story.
Questor
2017-07-27 21:48:19 UTC
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Post by bill van
Post by Bob
Post by Questor
Your Roomba May Be Mapping Your Home, Collecting Data That Could Be Sold
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/technology/roomba-irobot-data-p
rivacy.htm l
"High-end models of Roomba, iRobot’s robotic vacuum, collect data
as they clean, identifying the locations of your walls and
furniture. This helps them avoid crashing into your couch, but it
also creates a map of your home that iRobot is considering
selling to Amazon, Apple or Google."
So they can burglarize you?
Always follow the link if you're going to ask questions based on
assumptions that you wouldn't make if you'd followed the link and
read the story.
It's a lightweight piece written for the New York Times; it's not up
to the standards of the NYT's own reporting. I suspect it's part of
an online thing featuring a lot of freelance copy. The story suggests
ways marketers could use data about what's in your living room to try
to sell you high-end stuff. They know you're high-end -- or at least
mid-end -- because you own a Roomba.
Nothing in the story about burglary, and the stuff about marketing is
guesswork with little to no attribution. The only thing from Roomba
is a carefully worded statement to the effect that a decision to sell
Roomba data or not has not been made, and if it is made, it won't be
for a few years. That probably means they're thinking about it and
that they're awaiting legal opinions about whether they could be sued
or charged with anything.
I think the salient point of the story is that newer Roomba models have sensors
that are mapping rooms and the data is being sent over the Internet and
collected by the manufacturer, iRobot.

Lightweight freelance reporting or not, anyone who has been paying attention the
last few years knows that computer intrusions and data exfiltrations have been
occuring so regularly that they -- as with mass-shooting events in the U.S. --
are now reported on as routine, entirely expected events: "oh BTW, here's
another story about thousands (or millions) of peoples' personal data being
exposed on the Internet." Many of these incidents have occurred at high-tech
companies who are presumed to have lots of the kind of people who should know
how to prevent this. Of course iRobot's executives pledge that they value their
customers' privacy and will protect that data. As the old saying goes, that
promise and fifty cents will buy you a cup of coffee. It's not so much about
if that data gets released into the wild, but when.

As for people who cannot imagine how such data might be mis-used, I say they
need a better imagination. Or again, pay attention to the news. I have seen
cases of supermarket club card data, auto toll transponder hits, and even
medical device telemetry being used against the people who generated that data.
I know that some of the potential threats being speculated upon seem unlikely,
but if enough Roombas are in use, then probably there is somebody, and perhaps
many somebodies, for whom those circumstances apply.

Even if iRobot decides not to sell the data at this time, things may change
quickly in the future. If the company's financial situation deteriorates, or if
the company is acquired or goes bankrupt, that data will be seen as nothing more
than another asset to be sold, customer privacy notwithstanding. U.S. citizens
have essentially no legal protection in this regard, and the only effective way
to control one's personal information is to prevent companies from collecting it
in the first place.

Yes, nothing has happened with this data, nothing is happening now, and perhaps
nothing will ever happen. But the potential is certainly real. I probably
would have been dismissed as a conspiracy nut if, two years ago, I had said the
CIA can hack into smart TVs and spy on people. And yet today it's known to be
true. It's a mistake to dismiss the possibilities for abuse of the data iRobot
collects as merely far-fetched speculation.
B***@BillTurlock.com
2017-07-28 04:54:25 UTC
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Post by Questor
Post by bill van
Post by Bob
Post by Questor
Your Roomba May Be Mapping Your Home, Collecting Data That Could Be Sold
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/technology/roomba-irobot-data-p
rivacy.htm l
"High-end models of Roomba, iRobot’s robotic vacuum, collect data
as they clean, identifying the locations of your walls and
furniture. This helps them avoid crashing into your couch, but it
also creates a map of your home that iRobot is considering
selling to Amazon, Apple or Google."
So they can burglarize you?
Always follow the link if you're going to ask questions based on
assumptions that you wouldn't make if you'd followed the link and
read the story.
It's a lightweight piece written for the New York Times; it's not up
to the standards of the NYT's own reporting. I suspect it's part of
an online thing featuring a lot of freelance copy. The story suggests
ways marketers could use data about what's in your living room to try
to sell you high-end stuff. They know you're high-end -- or at least
mid-end -- because you own a Roomba.
Nothing in the story about burglary, and the stuff about marketing is
guesswork with little to no attribution. The only thing from Roomba
is a carefully worded statement to the effect that a decision to sell
Roomba data or not has not been made, and if it is made, it won't be
for a few years. That probably means they're thinking about it and
that they're awaiting legal opinions about whether they could be sued
or charged with anything.
I think the salient point of the story is that newer Roomba models have sensors
that are mapping rooms and the data is being sent over the Internet and
collected by the manufacturer, iRobot.
Lightweight freelance reporting or not, anyone who has been paying attention the
last few years knows that computer intrusions and data exfiltrations have been
occuring so regularly that they -- as with mass-shooting events in the U.S. --
are now reported on as routine, entirely expected events: "oh BTW, here's
another story about thousands (or millions) of peoples' personal data being
exposed on the Internet." Many of these incidents have occurred at high-tech
companies who are presumed to have lots of the kind of people who should know
how to prevent this. Of course iRobot's executives pledge that they value their
customers' privacy and will protect that data. As the old saying goes, that
promise and fifty cents will buy you a cup of coffee. It's not so much about
if that data gets released into the wild, but when.
As for people who cannot imagine how such data might be mis-used, I say they
need a better imagination. Or again, pay attention to the news. I have seen
cases of supermarket club card data, auto toll transponder hits, and even
medical device telemetry being used against the people who generated that data.
I know that some of the potential threats being speculated upon seem unlikely,
but if enough Roombas are in use, then probably there is somebody, and perhaps
many somebodies, for whom those circumstances apply.
Even if iRobot decides not to sell the data at this time, things may change
quickly in the future. If the company's financial situation deteriorates, or if
the company is acquired or goes bankrupt, that data will be seen as nothing more
than another asset to be sold, customer privacy notwithstanding. U.S. citizens
have essentially no legal protection in this regard, and the only effective way
to control one's personal information is to prevent companies from collecting it
in the first place.
Yes, nothing has happened with this data, nothing is happening now, and perhaps
nothing will ever happen. But the potential is certainly real. I probably
would have been dismissed as a conspiracy nut if, two years ago, I had said the
CIA can hack into smart TVs and spy on people. And yet today it's known to be
true. It's a mistake to dismiss the possibilities for abuse of the data iRobot
collects as merely far-fetched speculation.
"Ask Google—Say 'Hello Google' "

How does it know that you've said 'Hello Google', hmmm??!?
Greg Goss
2017-07-30 03:19:05 UTC
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Post by B***@BillTurlock.com
"Ask Google—Say 'Hello Google' "
How does it know that you've said 'Hello Google', hmmm??!?
When my trainer was showing me his new iPhone a year or so back, he
asked "Siri, do you listen to everything I say?"

"I'm not supposed to answer that question."

Six months later, we tried it again (he didn't remember the original
experiment) and she just answered "Yes."
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
a***@yahoo.com
2017-07-27 12:14:55 UTC
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Post by Questor
Your Roomba May Be Mapping Your Home, Collecting Data That Could Be Sold
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/technology/roomba-irobot-data-privacy.html
"High-end models of Roomba, iRobot’s robotic vacuum, collect data as they clean,
identifying the locations of your walls and furniture. This helps them avoid
crashing into your couch, but it also creates a map of your home that iRobot is
considering selling to Amazon, Apple or Google."
All the attendant issues -- and risks -- of collecting such data apply: consent,
privacy, security, data persistence, mis-use, law enforcement, etc.
And how long until robot ransomware? "Send us three bitcoin or you'll never get
your Roomba out from under the couch."
They also know who your bed partners are...
John Mc.
2017-07-27 13:07:53 UTC
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Post by a***@yahoo.com
Post by Questor
Your Roomba May Be Mapping Your Home, Collecting Data That Could Be Sold
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/technology/roomba-irobot-data-privacy.html
"High-end models of Roomba, iRobot’s robotic vacuum, collect data as they clean,
identifying the locations of your walls and furniture. This helps them avoid
crashing into your couch, but it also creates a map of your home that iRobot is
considering selling to Amazon, Apple or Google."
All the attendant issues -- and risks -- of collecting such data apply: consent,
privacy, security, data persistence, mis-use, law enforcement, etc.
And how long until robot ransomware? "Send us three bitcoin or you'll never get
your Roomba out from under the couch."
They also know who your bed partners are...
Same one for 43 years now. Don't think I'll change now.

John Mc.
B***@BillTurlock.com
2017-07-27 18:54:30 UTC
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Post by John Mc.
Same one for 43 years now. Don't think I'll change now.
John Mc.
leroy
Howard
2017-07-27 13:28:00 UTC
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Post by Questor
Your Roomba May Be Mapping Your Home, Collecting Data That Could Be Sold
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/technology/roomba-irobot-data-
privacy.html

Another potential peril of Roombas, from the cleaning column "Ask a Clean
Person"

http://deadspin.com/1744174290

Warning: photo of dog poop encrusted Roomba.
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