Undeniable: Today, more than ever, our personal data is worth gold to companies around the world. When we think about the kind of information we choose to share with certain companies, however, we imagine things like name, age, location, browsing or shopping history, right? For this article is a good reminder that things go much, much further.
For example, can you imagine that companies are keen to get information about our homes? Getting a perfect blueprint of our homes with room information, our living and cleaning habits, for example, a goldmine for companies that live by selling us household products such as Amazon.
Today, iRobot, the maker of Roomba smart cleaning robots, has made noise in the technological universe precisely because of this. Enterprise devices already fully map users' homes to work more efficiently; what scared the world was the possibility of the company, reported by Reutersto start auctioning this information to companies interested in it. IRobot made it very clear that this practice, if it were to happen, would have to be authorized by the user; Still, it was enough for the buzz to begin.
The buzz, of course, came from Apple itself, which will soon launch a product with home scanning capabilities as advanced as Roomba's own: HomePodIt is well known to have advanced technologies to detect various aspects of the room where it is located and thus adjust its sound for the best possible listening experience.
From Roomba's polemic, a reader of the AppleInsider He contacted Cupertino to ask if Ma had any plans to do the same or use this captured data in any way. Apple then answered:
No information sent to Apple servers until HomePod recognizes the command "Hey Siri", and any information after this point is encrypted and sent via an anonymous Siri ID. About room scanning, all analysis is performed locally on the device and not shared with Apple.
The answer, of course, is not surprising at all. At every event or new product announcement, Apple makes a point of reinforcing its commitment to user privacy and the fact that, unlike certain competitors, your primary source of profit is not the use of this information for advertising or related aspects. The fact that HomePod will do almost all of its reconnaissance tasks locally and the rest will be properly encrypted is a further reinforcement of this image (public at least).
So we can breathe a sigh of relief: it won't be the smart speaker cotton ball that will make Apple Skynet from the real world. So we hope, at least.
Update by Eduardo Marques 07/28/2017 s 14:37
In interview for ZDNet, an iRobot spokesman said the whole story was just a misinterpretation of Reuters.
Colin (the CEO) has never said that iRobot intends to sell (house) maps or customer data to other companies. IRobot had no discussions with other companies about selling data and iRobot did not sell customer information.
In the interview, the spokesman stressed that all information collected by iRobot products is stored locally and is sent to the cloud if the user wants to view such information on his smartphone ie the control over the data is in the hands of users ( and not the company).