Newsy: Consumer Data Concerns As Amazon Is Set To Acquire iRobot, Roomba

August 17, 2022 Interview, Media

Amazon recently struck a $1.7 billion deal to acquire iRobot — the company behind Roomba — and it’s creating worries about data protection. Amazon told Newsy that protecting customer data is “incredibly important” to the company, but privacy advocates say a recent deal to acquire iRobot would give Amazon a huge source of potentially invasive personal data.

Antitrust experts also worry that the deal is less about selling Roombas and more about finding ways to surveil the most intimate spaces of our lives for a marketing advantage. Amazon already controls about 56% of the eCommerce market, and this deal could further that reach.

“To have this kind of physical data, which is an element that they don’t currently have … you could really see a future where Alexa is pushing a new couch that fits perfectly in the dimensions of your living room,” said Krista Brown, a senior policy analyst at the American Economic Liberties Project. “Then, they also provide a doctor when they see you getting an air purifier. It just has so many elements that can be kind of abused and help them further entrench their dominance.”