Sally McDonald, Clark.com
Roombas remind me of the algae eaters that quietly and efficiently clean fish tanks. Their presence is hardly noticed, but the job gets done everyday.
Read more: Best vacuum cleaners for your money
But are these vacuums as simple as we think?
Roomba vacuums are collecting more than dirt
In a recent Reuters interview, iRobot CEO Colin Angle discussed a potential plan to sell the data collected by Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners to companies like Amazon, Apple and Google.
That’s right. Your Roomba is reaping information about your home as it sweeps your floors, documenting the dimensions of a room and distances between furniture.
So why does it matter how far your sofa is from your television? It’s all about understanding your physical environment so tech companies can dive into developing products to make your home even more intelligent with smart home technology.
Four Roomba models — 690, 890, 960 and 980 — are currently able to transmit data, although the robovacs aren’t sharing the information with third parties yet.
In the meantime, these tips from Consumer Reports can help keep your information private.
How to prevent Roomba from collecting data in your house
Disconnect and reset your Roomba
You need to cut your Roomba’s internet connection (it can still function without Wi-Fi). The downfside is that you will miss out on several convenience features (scheduled cleanings, mapping reports, voice control with Alexa or Google Assistant, etc.) through the mobile app.
Perform a factory reset by holding all three buttons (Clean, Spot Clean and Home) on the vacuum cleaner at once until you hear a tone. Keep in mind, this factory reset will also erase any custom settings.
Delete the information that has been collected
To ensure your data is deleted by the company, you need to contact the support line or call 1-877-855-8593.