MIT Technology Review: “…The data collected by robot vacuums can be particularly invasive. They have “powerful hardware, powerful sensors,” says Dennis Giese, a PhD candidate at Northeastern University who studies the security vulnerabilities of Internet of Things devices, including robot vacuums. “And they can drive around in your home—and you have no way to control that.” This is especially true, he adds, of devices with advanced cameras and artificial intelligence—like iRobot’s Roomba J7 series….Ultimately, though, this set of images represents something bigger than any one individual company’s actions. They speak to the widespread, and growing, practice of sharing potentially sensitive data to train algorithms, as well as the surprising, globe-spanning journey that a single image can take—in this case, from homes in North America, Europe, and Asia to the servers of Massachusetts-based iRobot, from there to San Francisco–based Scale AI, and finally to Scale’s contracted data workers around the world (including, in this instance, Venezuelan gig workers who posted the images to private groups on Facebook, Discord, and elsewhere). Together, the images reveal a whole data supply chain—and new points where personal information could leak out—that few consumers are even aware of…”
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