Her robot vacuum takes a picture of her on the toilet, the image ends up on Facebook

By positioning themselves as testers of products in the Roomba range, these people did not expect to see their intimacy shared on social networks.

We know that certain connected devices such as voice assistants sometimes have the unfortunate tendency to interfere in our private lives, but we do not necessarily imagine that such a situation can occur with a vacuum cleaner!

However, this is what happened to some testers of the robot vacuum cleaners Roomba from iRobot! Some have seen photos of their intimate life published on social networks without having really been informed of the treatment that would be made of their personal data.

vacuum cleaner in development

The information was revealed by a survey carried out by the specialists of the MIT Technology Review. The facts took place between 2019 and 2022 when several households applied to test robot vacuum cleaners in the development phase. Connected devices that were responsible for collecting usage data from their “owners”.

Among this data, photos taken by the device, which was not necessarily very clear in the conditions of the test which did not explicitly mention the use made of personal data and in particular the fact that photos can be seen by humans.

Intimate photos on Facebook

In fact, this data was transferred to a processing center at Venezuela in which employees were responsible for processing them, including the photos in question. Some pictures, more intimate than others, were hijacked by these employees who decided to publish them on Facebook or on other social networks like Discord.

While most of the photos only show home interiors, some are even more problematic. We see in particular young children and on one of the shots, a woman on the toilet in the process of satisfying a natural need.

The fired provider

Caught in the act, the firm iRobot clarified that it was not aware of the posting of these photos before the case broke out. The company also deplores the violation of the confidentiality agreements signed with the subcontractor in charge of analyzing the data from the test vacuum cleaners.

Additionally, the iRobot CEO clarified that the contractor in question no longer works for the company and that new procedures have been put in place to prevent such leaks. However, it is still not very reassuring to see that certain personal data can pass so easily from hand to hand without informing the main parties concerned.

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