iRobot, the makers of the popular Roomba autonomous vacuum cleaners, sparked privacy fears this week when it intimated it would be willing to offer the mapped data of users’ homes to third parties.
In an interview with Reuters, CEO Colin Angle said the maps would be really useful to smart home device makers among other third-parties
“There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” he said.
Naturally, that caused a bit of a storm. It didn’t exactly help matters when, attempting to clear things up, he added in a follow up statement: “We do hope to extract value from the information, but would only do so with the permission of our customers…only if you opt in.”
Now the company has again moved to clear up the matter by promising it will not be selling your data, to anyone, under any circumstances.
To open a lengthy letter to Zdnet reporter David Gewirtz, Angle said: “First things first, iRobot will never sell your data. Our mission is to help you keep a cleaner home and, in time, to help the smart home and the devices in it work better.”
He went onto say that customers will have full control over any data that is shared and it will not be used “as a data asset of a corporation to exploit.”
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He added: “You may also want your robot to work with other connected devices in your home. For this to work, we will also require your permission, and we will always ensure secure means of communication between devices.”
The company hopes this statement will get the message across to current and prospective customers and limit the damage done to its reputation.
Under the right circumstances, a layout map could assist the set-up of multiple devices; whether it’s figuring out the perfect place for the broadband router, or for setting up speakers to suit the acoustics of the room.
It could actually be pretty useful… Just sayin’.
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