A woman’s Roomba vacuum cleaner took pictures of her while she was on the toilet and somehow uploaded them to Facebook. According to MIT, the photos were taken by a device the school was using as a testing unit and was not purchased at a store. However, ending up with private photos posted online by your vacuum cleaner is a pretty scary concept!
- iRobot was using Roombas to get info for “paid data collectors and employees.” The units were allegedly going to help companies with machine learning. It was a Roomba J7 that took the photos in 2020 and sent them over to Scale AI, an artificial intelligence training company that teaches AI to be able to understand what it’s seeing more easily.
- Not all of the photos were risque. Some were just of random parts of the house, others were of people and their pets. However, one of the images was a woman on the toilet. Not exactly something you want to be captured on film and shared with the masses!
- So wait, how did the photos end up online? According to MIT, the Roomba pictures were automatically uploaded to a closed Facebook group used by company employees to comb through all the data came in — the woman on the toilet happened to be one of them.
- Many people have serious privacy concerns, and for good reason. iRobot claims that Roombas will automatically delete images that contain people and that it gets rid of all images from its data cloud within 30 days. The company also insists only app users can access the photos and that iRobot has no access to Roomba devices in stores that are available for consumers to buy.
- iRobot doesn’t want anyone to worry about their privacy. The company’s CEO, Clin Angle, released a statement promising “best in class product security and consumer privacy” when it comes to its products. “The iRobot-related images in question were from development robots used by paid data collectors and employees in 2020 for machine learning purposes,” he said. “The images are not from production robots in consumers’ homes. iRobot is terminating its relationship with the service provider who leaked the images, is actively investigating the matter, and taking measures to help prevent a similar leak by any service provider in the future.”