Amazon Obtains Interior Maps of Millions of Homes with Purchase of iRobot

iRobot has accepted the almost $2 billion purchase bid.

QUICK FACTS:
  • On Friday, iRobot agreed to sell to Amazon for $1.7 billion.
  • The internet giant will gain a cornucopia of personal data after acquiring the robot vacuum service, including the floor plans of millions of customers’ homes if shareholders and regulatory bodies approve the purchase.
  • Since the launching of its initial model in 2002, iRobot estimated that over 40 million Roombas had been sold worldwide.
  • The tiny robotic vacuum utilizes sensors to identify every room in a house. These saved personal data will be given to Amazon if the arrangement is approved by the Federal Trade Commission.
  • The director of the nonprofit digital rights organization ‘Fight for the Future’ Evan Greer said that Amazon wants to “have its hands everywhere.”
  • “People tend to think of Amazon as an online seller company, but really Amazon is a surveillance company. That is the core of its business model, and that’s what drives its monopoly power and profit,” the nonprofit director said. 
OTHER AMAZON MAPPING ENDEAVORS:
  • Amazon acquired Ring, a provider of video doorbells, in 2018 as well as purchasing the maker of wifi routers, Eero, in the same year. One Medical, a chain of medical clinics, was recently offered a $3.49 billion all-cash purchase by Amazon. 
  • The transaction would give Amazon access to health information from 188 offices across the US. Additionally, Astro, an Amazon-developed home mapping robot, was released last year. 
  • The home robot is marketed as a home surveillance device and syncs to Alexa. At the moment, Astro may only be purchased via invitation and is not accessible to the general public.
BACKGROUND:
  • There is as yet no information on how Amazon intends to use its soon-to-be-acquired data and the business has not yet made any comments.
  • However, around 30,000 subpoenas, search warrants, and court orders for user data have been issued by law enforcement agencies around the world since January 2022.
  • The tech company acknowledged handing over Ring recordings to law enforcement without a search order.
  • Neighbors is a video-sharing software that Ring has collaborated with 2,161 police agencies around the US to use. Users can submit their Ring footage to the app so that, with their consent, law enforcement can view it.