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Secret Agent Vacuum!

blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 749 ✭✭✭✭

So I have to admit, I always thought roombas (robot vacuum cleaners to those unfamiliar) were in the pointless-but-harmless category. I mean, as long as your not doing anything illegal or immoral, who am I to object to how you clean your house? After reading the following however, I decided they were not so harmless.

In short, roombas collect and record information about the layout of your house, and they can be connected to the internet. Anyone besides me find that a little scary?


  • Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 409 ✭✭✭✭

    Yes, it’s scary. So is my smartphone. I know companies are illegally and legally accessing the microphone and camera whenever they want. I deleted my Instagram account, but things I talk about end up on my YouTube feed all the time- no privacy anymore. Here’s the funny video that told me about Instagram. But what to do about it really?

  • frogvalleyfrogvalley Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    Well that does it, I'm not getting one. My kids used to make fun of me when I told them about things like this, but now they are telling me like they just discovered things like this happen.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,900 admin

    My husband figured that it would just find its way down the stairs and break, so, we never got one. Our hedgehog never came with one either, @blevinandwomba.

    The only spy machines that we have right now are our phones.

    I read recently about doorbell cameras...but then there are the gaming things, the appliances, the obvious Suri-type things, tvs, satellite & other receivers, etc. Some things don't need a microphone, yet its built right in!

    You know, everything is online now anyway, & you don't even have to own any of those "smart" things. The banks, stores, some cars & their services and many other places have you covered by gathering & sharing/selling your info anyway...not to mention friends on FB, etc...

    The best someone can do is to cut back on accessible means, but it isn't going to stop the madness.

  • Denise GrantDenise Grant Posts: 2,001 admin

    If our house had a roomba they would come lock us up. Would be a bit funny to put one in the barn and see what they would do.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,900 admin

    @Denise Grant I think your idea is awesome. 🤣

  • Denise GrantDenise Grant Posts: 2,001 admin
    edited February 3

    @LaurieLovesLearning I could set it up for the same time there are baby goats and put them in pj's add an old tv and let the good times roll.

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 522 ✭✭✭✭

    Scary!! Too many smart devices around and they all transmit your information. I don't have any except a smart phone and I agree with @Megan Venturella - my phone listens and then I see ads for things I've talked about. My husband and I were talking about something a while back - I can't even remember what it was - but I told him I bet it will show up as an ad on my phone. Sure enough not too long later there were ads. I had to show them all to him because he didn't believe me.

    My kids like talking to their phones so it will look things up for them. I had them turn it off on my phone but still the other day I was having trouble with my printer and said something like - how can I fix this thing. And my phone says - I'm not sure I can help you with that. Freaked me out!!! I had my daughter make sure the assistant was off and sure enough it was!

  • TaveTave Posts: 597 admin

    That is scary. My nephew has one, and I thought it was such a cool idea. I never thought of someone else being able to access the home's floorplan.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,900 admin
    edited February 3

    We have never activated that part of our phones. Right now it doesn't do that talk to ad thing as some are saying.

    But, our daughter who is gone from home has and she wishes she could now turn it off.

    I understand that some phones don't give you an option at all anymore.

    @Tave I thought they were cool too & am glad that we never got one.

  • VermontCathyVermontCathy Posts: 613 ✭✭✭✭

    I wish that all computers and phones had a hardware switch on the microphone and video camera. That's the only way to guarantee they won't be turned on.

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,533 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Almost all of our electronic devices are capable of sharing info on us, including cars, Fitbits, TVs, Amazon devices, coffee pots and personal vibrators (that one was covered in some bulletin I read some time ago.)

  • KelleyKelley Posts: 139 ✭✭✭

    AI is scary. 5G phones are terrifying.

  • SilkiemamuskaSilkiemamuska Posts: 99 ✭✭✭

    If you have your conversations being snooped on and ending up as adertising feeds please take the time to go through your phone settings, and or Google settings. Doing this, you will see a drastic to almost complete reduction in the problems.

    Another good idea, look up alternatives to Google/FB/Chrome, as there are many.

    There are apps that can be downloaded to Android that will show a colored dot on your screen when the camera or microphone turns on. Simple way to know what is happening on the device.

  • SilkiemamuskaSilkiemamuska Posts: 99 ✭✭✭

    I forgot to mention all the "permissions" on your phone and leaving "location", history and the like to collect data all the time is not needed. Use a VPN.

  • SuperCSuperC Cook at Wahlburgers The Frozen Tundra in the Northern MidwestPosts: 371 ✭✭✭

    In a single search for an item that catches my interest, actually cause many pop up ads to shop their internet store. Smart devices intrude on our lives, record us and listen-in to our conversations, and view our photo galleries. Smart vacuum cleaners, wow to create a map so others may benefit somehow is crazy. @blevinandwomba

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 522 ✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy I went to a craft show before Corona and there was a bank giving away webcam windows with their logo on it. A great way to advertise. I picked up one for my computer and each one of my daughters computers. We keep our webcams covered unless we're actually using it.

  • RustBeltCowgirlRustBeltCowgirl North Coast OhioPosts: 856 ✭✭✭✭✭

    They're cute and I love the video with the French Bulldog riding one. But, why spend the money when you have a regular vacuum.

  • VermontCathyVermontCathy Posts: 613 ✭✭✭✭

    @kbmbillups1 Yes, keeping webcams covered is a good idea. The one I use is clipped to the top of my monitor, and comes with a little plastic cover that swings closed when not in use. No electronic fiddling can move the cover out of the way!

    I use a lapel microphone for Zoom and Teams meetings, which gives much better audio than the built-in microphone. As a side benefit, when the splitter cable for mic and speakers is plugged into the computer (and it always is ), the built-in microphone is disabled through the jack. So until I plug in the external lapel microphone, the computer doesn't have access to a microphone anywhere.

    These video/audio meeting tools are great, and we should use them and benefit from them. But they need to remain under our control.

  • VermontCathyVermontCathy Posts: 613 ✭✭✭✭

    @SuperC In a single search for an item that catches my interest, actually cause many pop up ads to shop their internet store."

    I always have pop-ups disabled in my browser. If your browser doesn't support this feature, use a different browser. Check out Brave or Dissenter.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,900 admin

    You can also install pop-up blockers.

  • Melissa SwartzMelissa Swartz Posts: 268 ✭✭✭

    Just think what information self-driving cars will have about us. Cars already have a lot of info; once they are constantly connected it will be exponentially worse.

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,533 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Mozilla (Firefox browser) produces a periodic "*Privacy Not Included" rating for smart devices. It is a good guide for purchasing decisions.

    Kim Komando has a web site that has stories about intelligent devices as well.

  • nicksamanda11nicksamanda11 Posts: 228 ✭✭✭

    It never occurred to me that these vaccuums could do this. I don't own one but I have cleaned peoples houses that did. I didn't know they were connected to online.

  • SuperCSuperC Cook at Wahlburgers The Frozen Tundra in the Northern MidwestPosts: 371 ✭✭✭

    Some are connected online. I talked with my parents about theirs, and they stated there is an Internet option. They did not hookup that particular feature on their smart robo vac.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,900 admin

    I just don't understand what the benefit of hooking a vacuum up to the internet would give a homeowner, so really, why would a person even consider doing so?

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,533 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning Why would a coffeepot or refrigerator or any other "Smart" personal device need to be connected online? I can see no reason to do so, other than once you get a computer chip into the device, the connectivity is already built in.

    I don't need to start my coffeepot while I am away from home. The only remote devices that make sense away from home are security cameras.

    The only reason for this online connectivity is that the devices provide market research information to the manufacturers. I am even taking my Fitbit device off at night -- the company does not need to know how I sleep, and I can spend part of the day somewhat removed from wireless radiation.

    Hey, I may burn an extra five calories if I walk over to turn on the lamp.

  • vickeymvickeym Posts: 746 ✭✭✭✭

    I use a laptop computer and have always kept a small piece of heavy paper or cardboard taped over it. If I ever want to use the camera for something I can flip it over the back out of the way, but no one can get past it digitally. I keep my location settings turned off on my phone and do not allow sites to use my location online unless it is one that I specifically need and turn it off afterward.

    I have never used and social platform other than facebook and have been considering leaving that one. Too much drama anyway. I keep it set to private only friends and family anyway, though I know they don't abide by that, as you can tell from the ads.

    Have never understood the need for all the digital gadgets hooked to the internet. I do have a smart phone, but use it more for the timer when I'm at work that anything else. There are only a few people I text with or call though I am aware most anything can be tracked on the phones. I have no use for things like fit bits and such. I know I need more exercise than I get. Having that tell me how many steps I walk a day or what my heart rate was at any given date or time doesn't tell me any more than looking in the mirror or just listening to my body. I can look in a mirror or just put on my clothes and know I don't get enough excessive. I know I was upset at work the last couple days and angry, so I know my heart rate was high as was my blood pressure. Did not need a bracelet to tell me that.

    I'll stick to my simple ways and life. Might not be as modern or convenient as the new stuff, but works just fine for me.

  • stephanie447stephanie447 Ayurvedic Practitioner Annapolis, MDPosts: 320 ✭✭✭

    I used to have a Roomba and loved it - unfortunately it was a refurbished one and the battery died and due to life changes I never replaced it. Those old versions were not Internet connected.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 433 ✭✭✭

    The robot mowers are or can be internet connected too from what I have heard.

    A listened to a talk show a year or so ago. The host had been to the Burning Man gathering that year. He said "they", the powerful CEO type people from various large companies, were talking about Artificial Intelligence. A person from General Motors said that the information that is gathered by their automobiles, "smart cars", will be more worth more on the world market than the price of the car in the future. Ch in a was the leader in buying AI information at that time.

    I use my antivirus internet suite to shut off the camera and microphone on my laptop. The are disabled in the application control. Can't say that is 100% safe but as close as I can get. I don't have a smart phone.

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