A woman filmed in the privacy of her robot vacuum cleaner, the image posted on Facebook

The MIT Technology Review has investigated to find out where an intimate photo of a woman in the bathroom was taken from by her Roomba iRobot robot vacuum and posted on Facebook.

© Roomba

On Facebook, the photo of a woman in the bathroom with the shorts down was broadcast in private groups. A snapshot expected by an iRobot vacuum robot from Roomba. But how does such an intimate image end up on social media?

The MIT Technology Review investigated and contacted the manufacturer to shed light on this mysterious case that says a lot about the processing of our private data!

Read > WhatsApp linked to Facebook: which messaging alternatives to protect your privacy?

Collectors and employees who accepted the surveillance

In 2020, netizens posted images of mundane scenes but sometimes taken from low angles. On one of them, we see a young woman in a t-shirt on the toilet with the shorts down. This snapshot taken by a Roomba J7 robot vacuum cleaner from the iRobot brand ended up on Facebook.

If these devices are meant to be controlled, the MIT Technology Review got 15 screenshots shared in private groups. Among these shots illustrating in particular minors. On one of them, a young child lying on the ground staring at the device which records him with amusement. In short, intimate moments.

iRobot, Amazon’s future acquisition for $1.7 billion, confirms that these images are from Roomba robot vacuums in 2020. These shots are ” special development devices with hardware and software modifications which are not and have never been presented on the versions intended for purchase “. They belong to collectors and paid employees who have signed agreements about the recording of images. Scale AI, a startup which labels audio, photo and video data to train an artificial intelligence, retrieve the selected images.

An image released by data workers

Image 2: A woman filmed in private by her robot vacuum cleaner, the image posted on Facebook
© Roomba

According to the manufacturer, the devices carry a green mark which indicates that a video recording is in progress. iRobot believes it is up to these paid collectors to “remove what they describe as sensitive from any space where the robot operates, including children »

Simply put, according to iRobot, the people whose photos and videos appear in the data feed accepted this surveillance. The company declined to let MIT Technology Review see the consent agreements. Collectors or paid employees could not discuss these conditions.

But how did this woman sitting in the bathroom end up on Facebook? According to the MIT Technology Review, contracted data workers post these sensitive and private snapshots in private Facebook and Discord groups.

Data taken by manufacturers

If these images come to light with people’s consent, consumers accept data surveillance on a daily basis. This goes for a wide variety of devices, from smartphones to washing machines. This practice has been validated in recent years with the advent of artificial intelligence.

Manufacturers are hungry for data to improve artificial intelligence. Machine learning is popular and uses data like our voices, our faces and our homes to train the algorithms. Elements from real, dynamic environments like our homes are very valuable. We just need to use a device to give our consent via very vague privacy policies.

Companies have a lot of room for maneuver for broadcaster and analyzer the necessary information.

Source: Technology Review

Leave a Comment