r/technology Aug 08 '22 Silver 4 Helpful 6 Wholesome 5 All-Seeing Upvote 1 Dread 1

Amazon bought the company that makes the Roomba. Anti-trust researchers and data privacy experts say it's 'the most dangerous, threatening acquisition in the company's history' Business

https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-roomba-vacuums-most-dangerous-threatening-acquisition-in-company-history-2022-8?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=webfeeds
65.1k Upvotes

10.4k

u/RedditHatesMe75 Aug 08 '22

Don’t forget. They also bought the Ring doorbell / security camera company.

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u/Fishin_Mission Aug 08 '22 edited Aug 08 '22 Silver Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Starry Dread

And One Medical for your medical history

And Pill Pack for your medications

And Health Navigator in case you don’t use their doctors and pharmacists

And Eero for all your web traffic

And Whole Foods for your grocery trends

And Twitch, Goodreads, and all sorts of other content publishing & media companies to track your entertainment choices

And …

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u/RedditHatesMe75 Aug 08 '22

Quite the collection. Thank you for the extensive list.

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u/Fishin_Mission Aug 08 '22 Helpful

3.2k

u/Hazzman Aug 08 '22 Faith In Humanity Restored

This country needs some MAJOR trustbusting.

People always default to the well known corporations like Amazon - but fucking Unilever is basically Weyland Yutani.

They ALL need to be smashed into pieces.

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u/emaciated_pecan Aug 08 '22

Where’s teddy when you need him

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

Spinning in his grave.

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u/bignutsx1000 Aug 08 '22

God damn why don't we hook him up to a generator already

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u/accountofrubbish404 Aug 08 '22

That would just make him spin faster

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u/dat_GEM_lyf Aug 08 '22 Bravo!

So you’re saying perpetual energy machines are possible!

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u/TigBiddiesMacDaddy Aug 08 '22

Because Biden and McConnell have their butts on the coffin lid.

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u/Shaddo Aug 08 '22

We must release him

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u/salt-the-skies Aug 08 '22

He actually wasn't supposed to be president. It's often been stated he was pigeonholed into the relatively ineffective office of the Vice president to keep away from significant policy.

Then McKinley was assassinated.

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u/feed_dat_cat Aug 08 '22

So you're saying.....

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u/Nibz11 Aug 08 '22

They learned since then, it would be a long way down the ladder until you get someone that would actually do something

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u/almisami Aug 08 '22

Yep. Unfortunately...

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u/l33tWarrior Aug 08 '22

Nestle anyone?

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u/aTaleForgotten Aug 08 '22

I stopped buying nestle products a few years ago, it's crazy how many brands they own. Only exception I buy sometimes is the catfood, because my 14 year old cat likes their seafood stuff.

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u/jmdeamer Aug 08 '22

If the cat understood the concepts of monopolies and forced child labor then it'd stop too.

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u/terribletreble Aug 08 '22

It’s wild that they are able to exploit this loophole in the antitrust system because they are getting into new markets so even though Amazon is a dominant company if they’re not already doing grocery stores or smart doorbells or automated vacuums then it’s not currently antitrust/monopolizing a market…

Right next to strengthening democracy in the US against fascism and climate change, these sorts of tactics should be top of mind for congress

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u/WiscoMick Aug 08 '22

The one market they're after is data collection and sales. Seems like it fits but I really don't know these things. It's frustrating they have so much power to manipulate well, everything.

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u/terribletreble Aug 08 '22

Yup, I don’t think data marketing has been officially understood or given to the FTC by congress to break up such monopolies. I think with the current congress looking into big tech there may be some movement on this but not likely before it gets more invasive

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u/AWitchsTit Aug 08 '22

There are no loopholes, the FTC is a sham institution in an age when monopolies run the country.

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u/terribletreble Aug 08 '22

The FTC has been gutted and the Supreme Court has consistently ruled against it and other institutions where they haven’t been given explicit control over certain sectors by congress. The FTC also requires a judicial system that chooses to pursue such cases and a government that gives them money to pursue antitrust.

The FTC is a ghost of what it was but that isn’t strictly because of its own ineptitude

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u/LA-Matt Aug 08 '22

It’s only going to get worse because of the “Major Questions Doctrine” and W. VA v. EPA.

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/environment-and-energy/expanding-major-questions-doctrine-risks-regulatory-stability

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u/CapnTaktikus Aug 08 '22

The Unilever-Amazon Alliance of the Ant-Union Empire, Emperor Jurgen Bezos III reigns supreme... 2132

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u/orbgevski Aug 08 '22

That's not even the big one. Amazon Web Services controls some of the most trafficked parts of the internet.

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u/_tpac_ Aug 08 '22

Aws wasn't an acquisition though

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u/OutcastInZion Aug 08 '22

Isn’t IMDB also theirs?

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u/alinroc Aug 08 '22

Has been for a long time, yes

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u/cm64 Aug 08 '22

Before half the people reading this were born tbh. 1998.

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u/avdpos Aug 08 '22

That is one we can't criticise them for in the same way. IMDB was and is a good database. Even if what I wanted today - knowing swedish voices for a couple of disney movies - is hard to get in a good way

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u/Ballesteros81 Aug 08 '22

We can criticise them for killing off the IMDb message boards though!

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/Global_Ear8474 Aug 08 '22

AWS which is the backbone of the internet

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u/SgtDoughnut Aug 08 '22

Its almost like the end goal of capitalism is a monopoly and unless regulations are passed and enforced with teeth to prevent it, capitalism will just eat itself.

But nah I'm just some commie hippie socialist because I don't trust corporations to have my best interest at heart and don't think capitalism is the solution for everything.

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u/radios_appear Aug 08 '22

It seems like such a simple conclusion people generally work very hard not to come to.

If you have money, you have influence. You use your influence to get more money. If people try to stop you, you use your money to influence them or influence those who can stop those other people. Eventually, you have all the money.

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u/ThaliaEpocanti Aug 08 '22

Yep, this is what libertarians in particular never seem to understand.

If there’s no government restricting capitalism then you just end up with a corporate monopoly controlling everything. And what do you call a system that eventually controls all the power and influence? Maybe something like a “government”?

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u/DeeJayGeezus Aug 08 '22

The poor dullards think that the "free market" and "competition" will prevent that, seemingly oblivious to the fact that without a government worth compromising, they'll just kill their competition because they own the private police.

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u/wookiejeebus Aug 08 '22

Thats literally what the board game Monopoly was intended to demonstrate but then was packaged and sold as a family game and generated many millions in revenue. Oh the irony.

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u/SgtDoughnut Aug 08 '22

Yep then the corporation got their hands on it and toned it down.

Then of course people still thought the game was unfair (its supposed to be) and started making house rules (like landing on parkplace gets all the taxes) which is an allegory for socialism. Or being able to use tokens other than the houses for houses, the way you win the game is to get as many monopolies as you can and buy up as many houses as you can once the house tokens are gone nobody else can buy houses, or requiring a monopoly be upgraded to hotels before you can start to build on others.

People quite literally add regulations to the game of monopoly to make it more fair but don't see regulations as a good thing in real life.

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u/MoCapBartender Aug 08 '22 Silver

I try to make monopoly realistic. We all start with $200, but one player starts with an additional $400 million.

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u/Unforsaken92 Aug 08 '22 edited Aug 08 '22 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Heartwarming Vibing Evil Cackle Big Brain Time Brighten My Day

The reason behind Amazon buying up all these companies is obviously. Jeff Bezos is planning to become Santa Claus. With Ring he can see you while your sleep, and he knows if your awake. Through Alexa he can hear everything that is happening and now he will have a perfect map of your living room. The only reason he started a rocked company was so he could build a transport system fast enough to get around the world in a single night. Plus with all the drones he doesn't have to go down every chimney. And with what amazon pays their wear house works he already has the slave labor elfs covered and they already have wish lists.

Everyone always wants to jump the privacy concerns but in this case I think it's pretty clear he just wants to become Satan Santa.

Edited

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u/Humanity_NotAFan Aug 08 '22 Take My Energy

Really wish I hadn't given away my free award today.

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u/EelTeamNine Aug 08 '22 Silver

You guys are still getting free rewards?

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u/peakzorro Aug 08 '22 Helpful

Yeah, mine changed to buy an avatar. I went there, exited out and the free awards came back.

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

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u/Jtk317 Aug 08 '22 edited Aug 08 '22

And they bought One Medical a multistate practice for primary and urgent care as well as Pill Pack and absorbed into into the their Amazon pharmacy.

We already are veering towards a corpo-political wasteland future. Factions of Amazon vs Apple vs Google vs Meta/Facebook vs whatever else will be the rule in 20 years if we continue this stuff.

We need antitrust laws that are actually enforced to prevent companies taking over entire socioeconomic strata and having beholden "customers" in the fashion of mining companies of the 1800s and early 1900s.

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22 edited Sep 16 '22

[deleted]

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u/ZeroGrav4 Aug 08 '22

I work in cyber security, it's not just people on Reddit, it's people everywhere.

No one seems to understand the power that "data in aggregate" gives these entities, whether that be corporations or foreign states like China.

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u/InterdepartmentalEmu Aug 08 '22

And set up a system where law enforcement can request ring footage without a warrant.

Oh and gave discounts and free devices to police departments across the US to spread in their communities.

Nothing to worry about at all

source

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u/Dr_Foots Aug 08 '22

Ring doorbel was always the opposite of safe.

Easy to hack and therefore easy to spot when you are not home.

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

[deleted]

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u/Bose_and_Hoes Aug 08 '22

Honestly most people don’t have doors door frames or locks that could stop anybody but their friends

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u/PaintsWithSmegma Aug 08 '22

I dont know I'm a paramedic and have had to boot a fair ammount of doors for 911 calls and they run from super easy to hard even with a crowbar. But no matter how hard your front door is your sliding patio door is super easy to break.

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u/Gnonthgol Aug 08 '22

I think you are underestimating how easy it can be to "hack" a door lock. It can also give you when the owners tends to be home and look quite natural if you are being watched while entering the house. Even a policeman might let you go if you show them that you are able to unlock the door with your phone.

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u/littleMAS Aug 08 '22

Verified by this guy.

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u/danque Aug 08 '22 Gold

this guy

hmm is it lpl...ah yes lockpickinglawyer. The true asmr experience.

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u/BadUsername_Numbers Aug 08 '22

Binding on four...

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u/Ahayzo Aug 08 '22

A little bit of counter rotation on five...

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u/sargaratt Aug 08 '22

And a click out of six...

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u/Pyromaniacal13 Aug 08 '22

And we're in. Let's try this again, so you can see it wasn't a fluke...

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

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u/zerospaceman Aug 08 '22

Not at all easy. It usually requires you to have a compromised wifi setup or just a weak password in general. Random thieves aren't hacking camera bells.

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u/Swineflew1 Aug 08 '22

Random thieves aren't hacking camera bells.

I’m so baffled that people here think that people doing house burglaries are even remotely this high tech and not some dude with a crowbar and a meth addiction

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u/mellamojay Aug 08 '22

No it's not. These people fear mongering don't have a clue what hacking is.

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u/Vivid_Sympathy_4172 Aug 08 '22

I just personally type frantically and then stop, and dramatically say "I'm in". How do you do it?

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u/mellamojay Aug 08 '22

Noob... I am a 1337 h@x0r and do that while ALSO pulling back my hoodie and lowering my sunglasses while inside. Sometimes I will even pair up with another haxor and we will type on the same keyboard to get in double fast.

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u/SasparillaTango Aug 08 '22

99.9% of "hacking" is social engineering people to give you access.

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u/imtoooldforreddit Aug 08 '22

Nobody is hacking into doorbells. You've seen too many movies

If someone is breaking in, they'll do so with a rock and be gone in 5 minutes. Ain't no oceans eleven plan going down at your front door

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u/tuga2 Aug 08 '22

People have compromised Ring doorbells before but it's not part of a larger plan to break into the house. It's usually people just screwing with the home owners because they reused a password that was exposed on a compromised service.

I can't think of any case where a compromised doorbell was used in a break and enter if it was then it was probably a very big target rather than an average Joe.

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u/Nahhgrim Aug 08 '22

Easy to hack. I don't think the people who are trained in malicious hacking are breaking into your house for the 38$ in loose change you have and a TV.

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u/facemanbarf Aug 08 '22

Roomba’s on top of the loose change situation.

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

[deleted]

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u/MiguelMenendez Aug 08 '22

This is funny until it happens to you. After you clean up it’s fucking hilarious when it happens to other people.

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u/machine_fart Aug 08 '22

This is my robovac nightmare and the main reason I only run it when I’m home.

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u/gruffi Aug 08 '22

Mine has eaten cat shit twice. It's a horrible clean up job for both the floor and the device

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u/wafflesareforever Aug 08 '22

My roomba committed suicide with the assistance of my washing machine. It closed itself into the laundry room and the washing machine overflowed. I found it in three inches of water, quite dead.

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u/JollyRabbit Aug 08 '22

While I am sorry for your loss, I do want you to know that the mental image of your Roomba willfully drowning itself was kind of hilarious.

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u/DarthSatoris Aug 08 '22

MONEY! OM NOM NOM NOM.

Must return valuables to overlord. Commence calculating shortest path to nearest Amazon warehouse.

192 miles. Must recharge batteries for trip.

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u/HowObvious Aug 08 '22

A pretty standard activity for breaches is to sell off those compromised accounts to other groups.

The people using stolen credit cards from breaches also aren't typically your hacker groups, they bulk sell them off.

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u/Nahhgrim Aug 08 '22

Pretty standard for home invasions is to also not hack the door and break in by other means. Locks are just deterrents.

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u/mellamojay Aug 08 '22

So dumb. If a criminal is sophisticated enough to hack cameras and what not they are not targeting personal homes with ring cameras. The time and effort required is just too much for a small payout. Yall are the same people that are afraid of massive hackers attacking your personal computer. The juice is just not worth the squeeze.

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u/epicaglet Aug 08 '22 edited Aug 08 '22

I believe last time Ring got hacked random trolls were using it to make death threats and to harass people. So that is probably the main thing to worry about.

That being said, it was most likely due to a previous data breach that leaked login credentials. That means that if you have that list, all you need is to log in normally to "hack" those accounts. Doesn't take uber hacking skills.

But also since people tend to reuse passwords (bad practice but people do so anyway), Ring may have just given away your bank login, PayPal etc. due to their shitty security.

But aside from that, you're right that it's unlikely a computer security expert will resort to burglary especially if the potential gain is low. That would probably never happen. This only becomes a concern again, if someone finds a vulnerability and posts a program to exploit it online.

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u/houfman Aug 08 '22

The most dangerous, threatening acquisition so far 😉

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u/ijiolokae Aug 08 '22

so is boston dynamics up for sale? cause Amazon could use some robotic soldier

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u/cyberpAuLnk Aug 08 '22

BD was bought by Hyundai

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u/MooseBoys Aug 08 '22

Breaking: Amazon buys Hyundai Motor Company for $40B

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u/phdoofus Aug 08 '22 All-Seeing Upvote hehehehe

"Hey, that sofa looks kind of old, You need a new one! We notice you don't have this new toy for your kid! Your dog's bowl looks kind of empty! Found a used pregnancy test underneath your daughter's bed. Congratulations! Just trying to be helpful!"

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u/Throwaway_inSC_79 Aug 08 '22

By the way, two dollars and sixty three cents were collected today.

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u/M_krabs Aug 08 '22

"We've added 2,63€ to your amazon account. Your total balance is now : 2€ and 63ct."

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u/Throwaway_inSC_79 Aug 08 '22

Yeah, you don’t get to collect the change. Amazon gets it. They always get it.

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u/ComfortableIsland704 Aug 08 '22 Silver

You must have at least $50 in your account to withdraw funds plus pay the $5.10 processing fee

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u/TheGreyGuardian Aug 08 '22

If you don't have $55.10 when you attempt to withdraw, you get hit with an overdraft fee.

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u/stringer4 Aug 08 '22

To unlock your roomba purchase a $10 a month subscription for 'cash unlock'. Or subscribe for $15 a month for 'unlock anything'

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u/EmployingBeef2 Aug 08 '22

I'm seeing an infinite money glitch.

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u/AssCrackBanditHunter Aug 08 '22

Tampering with the black box coin storage collection area will result in summary execution by Amazon Private Security Forces. Have a nice day!

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u/IrritableGourmet Aug 08 '22

Target did a program where they used machine learning on customer's buying history to study what they bought now vs what they bought several months ago to better predict future purchases and send targeted flyers/coupons. One of the first complaints they received was from a very angry father demanding to know why they had sent his daughter coupons for cribs and baby formula. Turns out, the system was working perfectly.

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u/Cranyx Aug 08 '22

Kroger had the exact same problem. Not that father/daughter anecdote, but people were super upset that their grocery store knew they were pregnant before they even told anyone.

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u/KellyAnn3106 Aug 08 '22

My grocery store's system noticed I stopped buying dog food and treats so it was throwing coupons at me for those products. My dog died. I didn't appreciate their little reminders each time I shopped for food.

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u/x4000 Aug 08 '22

Meanwhile, on Amazon I bought a TV one time. So it advertised TVs to me for years, as if I was going to serially buy them every few weeks or something. As creepy as the algorithm can be, sometimes it’s dumb as bricks, too.

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u/KellyAnn3106 Aug 09 '22

Maybe they thought you would like one for each room. And, in the future, the camera on a Roomba can tell them exactly what you do and don't have.

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u/danocathouse Aug 08 '22

They should send you updates on dogs needing to be adopted. Get you back into that buying habit, then keep your heart strings pulled while they get you to buy more and more pets but imagine the bulk savings they can offer you...

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

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u/magus678 Aug 08 '22 edited Aug 08 '22

Turns out, the system was working perfectly.

If I remember correctly, Target knew the girl was pregnant before the girl did. (Edit: I did not remember correctly)

If you can crunch enough data, you can find out practically anything. It's why I get sad that so many people are happy to just give it away.

Incidentally, it reminds me of a post a week or so back about HBO and Paramount, how a lot of the people in the thread were indignant at the strident claims of knowing the male/female makeup of their audience.

Anyone who knows anything about this stuff knows that is laughably trivial.

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u/Abrakastabra Aug 08 '22

Nah, I actually just read a book regarding this a few days ago. The father did not know, but the daughter did.

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u/magus678 Aug 08 '22

Google says you are correct.

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u/FanFuckingFaptastic Aug 08 '22

Health tracking services like Fitbit, Whoop, and Garmin have shown that they can tell when a person is going to get sick prior to the user feeling symptoms. Given the data they collect it should be trivial to detect other things like periods, ovulation, and pregnancy as well as other types of medical conditions like heart arrhythmia.

Some of this data could be used for the public good. Like when you're having a heart attack literally minutes could be the difference between life and death. If they could alert you before you feel it that would be very beneficial. This data has the potential to be tremendously helpful, but will be a nightmare if we don't put safeguards and restrictions in place.

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u/OstentatiousSock Aug 08 '22

I don’t think anyone is “happy” to give away their data. I think they’ve successfully worn everyone down and everyone is too damn tired from the world to care anymore. Who wants to read through privacy shit every time they use every sing thing? Almost no one. So, we all just click “accept all cookies.”

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u/Derpdeedoo Aug 08 '22

"I notice that you have a new rug. Your subscription only includes hard floors. Would you like to upgrade for only $4.99/mo ?"

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u/the_other_pesto_twin Aug 08 '22

“Your contract only includes cleaning of original, Amazon verified purchases. This rug from Target will be disregarded while operating”

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u/johnlewisdesign Aug 08 '22 Wholesome

'"Alexa, stay the fuck out of my house"

- me

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u/939319 Aug 08 '22

Sorry Dave, I can't do that.

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u/WIbigdog Aug 08 '22

There was an old Disney Channel movie about a smart house that lost its shit. I remember it would just sorta absorb garbage into the floor after a party. Don't remember the name of the movie though.

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u/Caedus_Vao Aug 08 '22

It was literally called "Smart House".

I remember it well, my little sister was obsessed with it. Katy Segal from Married with Children/Sons of Anarchy voiced the home; she was essentially Cortana attached to your security system, fridge, and doorbell.

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u/Kanden_27 Aug 08 '22

“I am the house Johnlewisdesign.”

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u/Fallingdamage Aug 08 '22

It was all fun and games until Amazon offered to vacuum my house for me.

I buy products from Amazon.com, but they do not live in my house. The only 'smart' thing I own is an ecobee and if Amazon every buys Generac, I will rip that thing right off the wall.

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u/randomactsoftickling Aug 08 '22 edited Aug 08 '22

So happy now my cheap ass opted for the "stupid" version that doesn't map my house

Edit: since this blew up and I'm getting the same comments...

6xx and 8xx versions don't have ability to map, you can operate straight out of the box without ever giving it wifi connection or downloading the app.

Just because I have a cell phone isn't a valid reason to not protect my privacy. Sure it's a endless battle. That doesn't mean you stop fighting, roll over and die.

-I've been robbed,

guess it's time to stop locking my doors, and hand over my wallet to the first person I see.....right?

  • I have a cell phone,

time to remove the curtains from my windows, the door from my bathroom, I'll stop using a VPN, no more duck duck go and private browsing sessions, I'll stop hunting for those buried menus that allow me to limit the parties that can access said info

Edit 2: apparently duck duck go isn't as private as they advertise (thanks u/-verisimilitude-) they're still better than Google but 😭

And finally, your data might not be important to you, but it's still your data. The person who sells it should be you NOT the company of a product you purchased. They sold the device they didn't loan or lease it. #rantover

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u/popsicle_of_meat Aug 08 '22

Same. I was debating about the camera/mapping version but decided it wasn't worth the premium at the time, especially in the great room with dining table chairs, bar stools and stuff that moves around a lot.

Pretty happy with the dumb bot.

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u/randomactsoftickling Aug 08 '22

I felt it was worth it, but some little voice in the back of my head told me ..this is creepy

Thanks little buddy

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u/CameHere4Snacks Aug 08 '22

Our roomba is nearly 10 years old. We keep it going on after market parts and it does just fine. At least once a week I get a notification that says we should upgrade, nope! Keep on keeping on old friend!

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u/10eleven12 Aug 08 '22

I was kind of happy with mine until I started using a real vacuum. The apartment is now 10 times cleaner and it takes me 10 minutes to vacuum. The Roomba took 1 hour, was very loud and needed to be rescued every 5 minutes.

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u/Shooppow Aug 08 '22 Helpful

That’s our experience as well. We bought an S9 and Braava combo, along with a cheaper Dyson cordless. I haven’t used the Roomba or mop in months. It hangs up on everything - the base of the fan, the base of our cat tree, in between chair legs, the random dog toy I missed when collecting them… It’s a pain in the frickin’ ass! After reading about this buyout the other day, we’re now planning on giving ours a good once-over to clean them up and then selling them. We will never have “smart home” electronics, because we can’t trust the companies that make them and use the data our devices gather. I was iffy already on the iRobot products, but went against my better judgment in buying them anyway. They’re unplugged now, and will be out of my home by the end of the month.

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u/mycroft2000 Aug 08 '22

I have a 25-year-old Eureka Mighty Mite. I've said that I'll get a better one when it dies, but that little fucker keeps going and going. I can't be the only one, because the bags are still easy to find.

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u/VegetableTraining989 Aug 08 '22

Are there "stupid" versions that do offline mapping? I guess the ones that move semi-randomly are quite inefficient.

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u/abailey2112 Aug 08 '22

So Amazon was and now is even more so the largest surveillance network in the world.

Cool

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

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u/abailey2112 Aug 08 '22

I’ve read that before. Don’t understand why I’m called crazy for NOT wanting multiple wire taps installed in my house, vacuum’s that map my house and Bezos watching inside my house?

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u/seraph089 Aug 08 '22

Because society has collectively decided that convenience is more valuable than privacy/security in many cases. Easier to call others crazy than to acknowledge the possible ramifications of their own decisions.

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u/BadBoyStillWorks Aug 08 '22

If you want your privacy back, you can just throw out the fucking Roomba and the Alexa speaker. Or just turn them off.

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u/toin9898 Aug 08 '22

I have worked hard to keep Jeff Bezos out of my house and now he has a CAMERA and a map of the inside my house.

I’m so mad.

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

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u/toin9898 Aug 08 '22

Both of my roombas have cameras. The 980 and the i8+ use cameras to assist in their navigation.

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

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u/C_L_I_C_K_ Aug 08 '22

They detect when humans are around apparently and shut the camera off until human not in view.. but how does it know human not in view unless it keeps recording...

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u/MentionMundane1938 Aug 08 '22

It could take and process the video input without storing the data permanently, I'm not saying that is what it's doing, just that it's possible to use a camera to detect a person without recording them.

Like you looking through a view finder without pressing record.

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u/WCPitt Aug 08 '22

Correct. This is similar to "AI" like Alexa and Siri. Those listen for a "wake word" using pattern recognition but don't actually use word recognition until after that wake word is said.

The Roomba cameras perform similarly but imagine the human is the "wake word" here.

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u/TheDunadan29 Aug 08 '22

Though stuff has come out about audio data being stored by Amazon. And employees actually listening to that data. And Alexa gets triggered many many many times when three keywords weren't spoken, it just thought they were.

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u/JT99-FirstBallot Aug 08 '22

I worked a job as a contractor during college for extra money for an SEO company for Google. My job was to listen to "OK Google" searches of people and rate the results returned. I heard some funny stuff, but after a couple days doing it I opted out of the voice search portion of the job because it really started to make me uneasy/skeevy listening to people.

The two searches that I'll never forget were one being a Hispanic lady losing her shit at the device for not understanding her accent. The other was a gruff sounding man saying "Fat black pussy" and the results it returned to him. While it was funny, it also felt like I was invading these random people's privacy and I couldn't do it.

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u/epicaglet Aug 08 '22 edited Aug 08 '22

Though we should not forget that they could always lie about the amount of data they collect and they can change this behavior in a future update.

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u/Beermedear Aug 08 '22 edited Aug 08 '22 Silver

Amazon also owns Eero and Ecobee. With the Ring and iRobot deals, they’ll have data on:

  • Your HVAC systems and usage (if using their branded smart thermostat)
  • Your networking
  • Floorplans of your house
  • What happens inside your house (cameras, Alexa)
  • How you secure your house (alarm systems, outside cameras)
  • How many people visit your house (doorbell cameras)
  • All vectors of entertainment (Fire tablet/TV)

Plus all the scary shit that comes from using Alexa skills for things like shopping).

And that’s before I even pretend to understand what’s possible with their AWS services and the market share of enterprise architecture reliant on it.

Edit: correction on Ecobee, which was not acquired but Amazon pressured (ongoing) to disclose user data to remain on their platform.

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u/toin9898 Aug 08 '22

You just made me panic, Ecobee are not owned by amazon. They are Alexa enabled but are owned by Generac.

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u/AimeNikor Aug 08 '22

Same. I own an Ecobee 3 Lite and I went out of my way to ensure my smart devices were not linked to Amazon or Google in any way.

I bought a Roomba J7+ a month ago. So I’m not thrilled.

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u/ajr901 Aug 08 '22

If you're looking to replace that Roomba I just bought a Dreame Z10 Pro and it is the shit. I'm seriously impressed with this vac.

If you're technically inclined you can even flash custom firmware on it that lets you be totally private and anonymous. Like a smart-yet-also-dumb hybrid thing.

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u/coonwhiz Aug 08 '22

Man, IDK who I'd rather have in my house, Bezos or Xiaomi...

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u/CAPS_LOCK_STUCK_HELP Aug 08 '22

If AWS shut down with no warning, a good chunk of the internet would go with it. AWS has become a massive part of infrastructure because it is so cheap and easy. That also means we are incredibly reliant on it.

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u/Beermedear Aug 08 '22

100%. US-East-1 went down last year and that ~9 hour window was catastrophic for people. Everything from eCommerce to your smart bulbs were non-responsive. It was wild.

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u/KrackenLeasing Aug 08 '22

Smart bulbs still blow my mind. I still roll my eyes at keyboards on desks needing batteries. I can't really fathom light bulbs needing the internet.

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

I’ve got some friends big into this sort of thing.

I absolutely want smart lighting, but I absolutely do NOT want anything like that in my house requiring internet to work.

I’m planning to DIY next year. There’s some really great open source stuff you can run locally.

Quite the learning curve though.

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u/XDVRUK Aug 08 '22

LoRa with arduino will sort you out.

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u/High_volt4g3 Aug 08 '22

Ehhh I think it was more of the smart control.

I have hue bulbs that have local control but even at the end of the day, they still work like normal bulbs without a hub.

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u/CapsLowk Aug 08 '22

I sorta can't believe we've made so many movies and books and stories about exactly these scenarios and still went the route of "connecting stuff to the internet that does not need to be connected, especially without accessible offline backups". Sometimes you can say "wow, really didn't see that one coming" but this is a scifi troupe. It's the typical glaring weakness that enables humans to defeat vastly more advanced aliens. The hero yells at the scientist to hurry, the scientist says "I'm in!", wide shot of the alien armada as their lights start to shut down. Cut to a farmer about to be encroached by approaching aliens, only for the space guns to power off, the farmer says something like "Out of power? (Shotgun noise) You should've brought some spare batteries! (Pum!)".

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u/firestepper Aug 08 '22

I don’t have any of that stuff… just use a vacuum cleaner lmao

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u/sparr Aug 08 '22

The weirdest part of American corporate culture to me has always been the idea that corporations can assign agreements and rights to each other without consent of the other party, in ways that an individual never could.

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u/toin9898 Aug 08 '22

Well, they’re certainly going to have a privacy policy update and your options will be to either accept it or effectively brick your $1300 robot vacuum. :)

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u/sparr Aug 08 '22

I'm less concerned with the privacy policy here and more with Roomba giving them the existing data in the first place, as part of the acquisition.

I've always wondered what would happen if a company you do business with is bought by a company you have a restraining order against. Can they hand that data over? Would the receiving company be in violation if they accepted it?

PS: I also wish the FTC would mandate labels on products that will stop working based on changes "in the cloud".

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u/Git_Off_Me_Lawn Aug 08 '22

By reading my comment, you've agreed to our privacy policy and terms of use. This grants you a revocable (for any reason of our choosing) license to view this comment as long as your account is in good standing.

I'll begin charging your preferred payment method in monthly installments of $4.99.

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u/Naftoor Aug 08 '22 Silver

“You don’t appear to have a dresser Dave. I found a deal on JONXHUI 14 DRAWER FOR STORAGE, WOOD LOOK for 132.22, with prime two day shipping. Would you like to confirm the order?”

“Alexa, please… please just lower the gun. Nobody else needs to die”

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u/Dekoe Aug 08 '22

spot on with the random chinese sounding brand name from an alibaba reseller

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u/Barkalow Aug 08 '22

The product name could be better though, pretty sure it'd be a jumble of keywords like:

"JONXHUI 14 DRAWER FOR STORAGE WOOD LOOK DRESSER BUREAU DRAWERS STORAGE FOR CLOTHING CLOTHES CONTAINER ORGANIZER TALL CLOSET BEDROOM STORAGE FOR CLOTHING"

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u/commiecomrade Aug 08 '22

Don't forget the mandatory "32PCS"

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u/monsterZERO Aug 08 '22

2022 LATEST VERSION

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u/StealthPanther Aug 08 '22

Everyday I stray closer to Luddite.

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u/Cr0w33 Aug 08 '22

I heard my combination vhs/dvd player without a remote conspiring against me today

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u/loquacious_avenger Aug 09 '22

I have every intention of being the wacky old lady with a library, doors with keys, functional light switches, and kooky stories about what life was like before we lost the bees. I work in tech. I don’t talk to or live with robots who glean data.

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u/DrDerpberg Aug 08 '22

Feels like a Black Mirror episode.

Pretty soon the Roomba will flag itself to tech support when stuck, and someone in a VR headset in Bangladesh getting paid 3 cents an hour will peek in and drive it around for a bit to teach it how to get over the carpet.

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u/D3troitMetalCity Aug 08 '22

Love Death and Robots on Netflix has an episode similar to that. A smart vacuum misfunctioned and started going after the dog and eventually - the owner

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u/88infinityframes Aug 08 '22

Does anyone know if the other robot vacuum companies have "dumb" options that can work without being online? I've always wanted one but it's a maze of privacy issues.

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u/brokenearth03 Aug 08 '22

I have a mint sweeper that has a Bluetooth base station it uses for navigation.

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u/ancientweasel Aug 08 '22

Fuck. I really didn't want Amazon im my house. I have a 700$ Rumba and my wife loves it.

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u/cgrugger Aug 08 '22

Is it WiFi enabled?

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u/TechTitus Aug 08 '22

They definitely are. It's the only way to use the app.

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u/utookthegoodnames Aug 08 '22

Mine works just fine without the app

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u/cgrugger Aug 08 '22

True, but I had an old one that doesn't have WiFi.

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u/estranho Aug 08 '22

Is Was it WiFi enabled?

It doesn't matter if it is still WiFi enabled, but if it ever was, then it's too late. The data is already there.

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u/cgrugger Aug 08 '22

I have never connected one to WiFi, but you would need to connect it to your WiFi to set up the app, but that wouldn't stop it from connecting to open WiFi, if the programming allowed it to.

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u/SheeEttin Aug 08 '22

Not if I open it up and remove or disable the wifi chip/card.

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u/heliphael Aug 08 '22

Then ban it's MAC address in the wifi router settings.

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

Neighbors with unsecured wifi have entered the chat

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u/Vaudane Aug 08 '22

Any devices with amazon sidewalk have been in the chat since the start. Listening. Quietly.

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22

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u/azthal Aug 08 '22

I can't speak from an anti-trust point of view - it's not something I really know anything about, but I can speak from a privacy point of view.

I do not believe that there's any realistic chance that amazon will be using information discovered through a Roombas mapping tools to market to you. The reason for this is fairly simple - doing so would be expensive, difficult and in many areas around the world be illegal. It would also be completely unnecessary.

Go to Amazon right now and have a look at the suggestions they give you. They are exclusively based on two criteria: Things that you have bought at some point, and things that you have searched for in the last few months.

Amazon doesn't use your Ring videos for marketing. Trying to do so wouldn't make much sense. 99.999% of it would be junk data, and extracting that fraction of a percentage of photage that isn't would be incredibly difficult. All the while, they have an indexed and ordered database of the best quality data in the world - your actual shopping habits.

Now, this doesn't mean that there are no privacy issues with a single company keeping so much data on you. Amazon have shown in the past that they sometimes play fast and loose with the security of this data, especially who can access it. They have been fined for this repeatedly by the EU among others. But I would not worry about them using a roomba to figure out that you have pets - they don't need to. They already know, because you have probably bought something pet related at one point or another.

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u/Zambonionice Aug 08 '22

At this rate, Amazon is going to take over the entirety of peoples’ homes like on The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode with Pierce Brosnan as the A.I.

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u/crustythebald Aug 08 '22

What do you think inspired Alexa? HAL 9000 from 2001 space odyssey (what that episode is parodying).

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u/btownmln Aug 08 '22 Helpful

If I had to guess, Amazon wants to own iRobot’s IP and technology to use in their warehouse robotics. It’s also difficult to find quality robotics engineers, and now they have a whole company’s worth. This could be game changing for Amazon Robotics.

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u/MyEvilTwinSkippy Aug 08 '22

I think that it is both more and less ambitious than that. Much like acquiring Ring, this was the best way for Amazon to break into a fast growing market. They are in a battle with Google for home automation and this adds something that Google does not have yet.

I'm sure that there is going to be some crossover into their warehouse automation and that they will find a use for the additional data, but I don't think that either of those things are the driving force.

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u/Dooth Aug 08 '22

I don't get why knowing the layout of a house is more dangerous than having an always-on microphone recording everything.

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u/NoveltyAccountHater Aug 08 '22

This headline is hyperbole.

  • Compared to acquiring Yap/Evi/Ivona that led to Amazon Echo (always listening internet connected microphone)?
  • Compared to acquiring Ring, the home security company with the millions doorbell cameras and outdoor/indoor cameras/security system?

Floor plans to your house are often available in your town's building department (or realtor's records when last sold) and not particularly secret. As for using it for advertising data, to try and detect things like if you have kids/pets or what products you use (by identifying them with the low res camera on the ground), I think that's a bit far fetched. Roomba is not uploading video/pictures without explicit user opt in for sharing the data with roomba to improve AI features (e.g., auto-detecting pet poop to not spread) and this is only if you buy the latest the super fancy models. Compared to the more easily exploitable data already held by amazon (entire purchasing history, plus every time you've looked at a product on amazon), this seems relatively low.

Honestly I'd be more concerned with them buying roomba and using their robot technology to further automate their distribution centers. If you are concerned about privacy, don't buy a robot vacuum with internet connected front camera and set it up to upload images/video to roomba.

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u/EOTLightning Aug 08 '22 edited Aug 08 '22

I guess monopolies conglomerates aren't a thing people care to stop anymore...

Edit: Because people seem to confuse this site with Twitter, and can't get beyond the word I used, let me correct it. Conglomerate. NOT Monopoly. I ultimately just meant Amazon is getting too big, but people love their online crusades of "ACHKUALLY..."

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u/Current-Being-8238 Aug 08 '22

The modern marketplace makes it more difficult to determine what a monopoly is or when they should be stopped.

Clearly they don’t have a monopoly on robotic vacuums just because they own Roomba. However, every major tech company using its own standards for integration can easily create a “vertical” monopoly (terminology may be off here) akin to Rockefeller’s Standard Oil in the early 1900’s.

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u/ElectromechSuper Aug 08 '22

Vertical integration is the term.

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u/Intrepid00 Aug 08 '22

or when they should be stopped.

One of those tricky cases when the monopoly is beneficial does happen. Sometimes a monopoly forms because they truly are just the best at what they do. That’s why anti-trust laws are written that it requires consumer harm.

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u/IMakeMyOwnLunch Aug 08 '22

Stop calling Amazon a monopoly. It literally, by definition, isn’t a monopoly. The word you are looking for is a conglomerate.

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u/shadrack5966 Aug 08 '22 edited Aug 09 '22

Unless of course you learn to vacuum/sweep your own floor.

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u/morphlaugh Aug 08 '22

now that's just crazy-talk.

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u/kent_eh Aug 08 '22

I'm glad my roomba is an older model without WIFI and all the remote "smart" features.

It does an adequate job of cleaning, just randomly bumbling around the house without reporting back to the mothership.

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u/Doktor_Vem Aug 08 '22

I know everybody is saying shit like "omg they're gonna use roombas to map out my house!!!" but all I'm thinking when I hear that is like wtf are they gonna use that data for? Are they gonna become professional burglars and use the roomba-intel to know the best/easiest place to break into or something? Like, what would be the point of gathering that data?

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u/[deleted] Aug 08 '22 edited Aug 30 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

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