His robot vacuum snapped a photo of the woman on the toilet, and then the photo landed on Facebook — Coloré

the robot vacuum cleaner It can be a great help during daily cleaning, as the small structure collects dust and dirt in our rooms, depending on the setting, saving us time and energy. You wouldn’t even think that a device like this could pose a security risk.

In the fall of 2020, Venezuelan IT workers posted a series of photos on online forums where they discussed the details of their tasks. The photos are taken from a low angle, normal, albeit occasionally There were intimate interior scenes – There were also some things they didn’t like to share on the Internet. One particularly “revealing” shot shows a young woman in a purple shirt Sitting on the toiletHis shorts go up to mid-thighs, just like everyone else does. The photos were not taken by a person, but by him iRobot Roomba J7 series robotic vacuum cleaner A version is under development. The photos went to Scale AI, a startup that contracts workers around the world for the development of artificial intelligence Used to tag audio, image and video data.

These images included scenes that were regularly captured by internet-connected devices and sent back to the cloud – although they were usually subject to stricter storage and access controls. In early 2022, that was the case Fifteen of these particular images were obtained by MIT Technology Review, which were posted in closed Facebook groups. The content of the images is varied, the most intimate images that emerge are the series of still images in which the young woman is seen in the toilet. In another, a boy who appears to be about eight or nine years old is lying prostrate on the floor of the hallway, staring with evident amusement at something he is recording from just below eye level.

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iRobot—the world’s largest supplier of robotic vacuum cleaners, recently acquired by Amazon for $1.7 billion—confirmed that these photos were taken by Roomba vacuum cleaners in 2020. All of them

Comes from robotic vacuum cleaners under own development with hardware and software modifications that did not and have not previously been present on iRobot consumer products

– says the company’s announcement. “Collectors and salaried employeesAs “those who have entered into a written agreement in which they acknowledge that for training purposes Data streams, including video, are sent back to the company. According to iRobot, the devices are labeled with a bright green sticker that reads “Video recording in progressPaid data collectors are charged withRemove anything considered private from anywhere the bot has access to, including children. This means, according to iRobot, that anyone whose photos or videos were posted to the aforementioned forums has agreed to be monitored by Roomba.

Source: Shutterstock / Puzzlepix

iRobot states that the 15 leaked images are just a small slice of the massive data sea More than two million photos Shared with Scale AI and who knows how much data with other data logging platforms. Their spokesperson said that the company “Take all precautions to ensure that personal data is processed securely and in accordance with applicable laws“, and that

iRobot is terminating its contract with the service provider that leaked the images, and is actively investigating the matter and taking measures to avoid similar incidents.

The case didn’t generate much press response, but it’s good for us to think about it: We regularly consent to access to our data to varying degrees by cellphones and other smart devices. This practice has become more common in the past decade Artificial intelligence More and more companies are incorporating it into their new products and services. Much of the technology is based on machine learning, whereby artificial intelligence processes large amounts of data – including Our voice, face, home, and other personal data Used to train algorithms and pattern recognition. We often don’t even know that we have agreed to this, simply by using the product we actually give permission to, as data protection regulations are often vaguely worded. This gives companies wide discretion in distributing and analyzing consumer information — which means it’s really hard to know what they’re doing with our data, which we’ve provided almost voluntarily.

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Cover photo credit: Shutterstock / Puzzlepix

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