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21 Dec, 2022
1 min time to read

Intimate photos ended up on Facebook, but it was taken by a iRobot’s test device, not the real consumer vacuum.

MIT Technology Review reported about an illustrative issue with revealed sensitive photos of people taken by a robotic vacuum cleaner. This is one more reminder that devices complete with advanced cameras and AI collect data and weaken user's privacy.

The images have being automatically transferred from the robotic cleaners to Scale AI for manual data processing and improving the AI. The photos later ended up in a closed media group uploaded by the Scale AI employees.

iRobot has confirmed that the revealed photos were taken by its Roombas in 2020 – testing and not for purchase devices. The company stated that the images were obtained from “special development robots with hardware and software modifications that are not and never were present on iRobot consumer products for purchase”.

iRobot claimed that all development devices that collected data for AI training were marked with a bright sticker “video recording in progress”. As per iRobot estimation all users whose photos or videos were collected and transferred had agreed to let Roombas watch them.

iRobot is the on of largest vendor of robotic vacuums, acquired recently by Amazon for $1.7 billion.