There are many brands and devices, and the popular Roomba vacuum cleaners are no exception, which have testing programs for their products. In this way, companies can have a lot of useful information about the operation of their devices in real environments, and users can test these products before anyone else. In some cases, they can also keep the product and/or receive some kind of compensation, either economic or in kind.
Users, upon entering these trial programs, must enter into contracts for this purpose. These contracts regulate all aspects of the assignment, from the information that users must provide to what the product can and cannot do during its evaluation. This type of formalism determines, in an exhaustive way, what can and cannot happen both during the tests and also as a consequence of them.
However, this doesn’t always work as it should, which can lead to particularly tricky situations, such as the one we can read about in Technology Review, which reports that some Roomba vacuum testers They have found, by surprise, intimate images of themselves, of which they were unaware, published on social networks. Images that were presumably taken by the Roomba prototypes they were testing.
iRobot, the company that created the Roomba and which was acquired by Amazon last year, claims that it had consent to collect this type of data from inside homes, but the participants say otherwise, although they must remain anonymous for now. , because to participate in the device testing program, these users had to sign a confidentiality agreement, which prevents them from freely expressing themselves about what happened.
We will have to wait, therefore, to find out how this matter is resolved, although it is true that the image of the technology company can be quite affected. It is true that these images were captured under very specific conditions, within the testing program of the devices, but that the company has allowed the images to end up being published on social networks is, of course, not a good credential in terms of respect. of privacy.
It should be clarified, however, that these products were delivered to their testers at the end of 2019, at which time Amazon still had no relationship with iRobot (except for the sale of its products through the store, of course). However, it may now be up to the e-commerce giant to deal with the practices carried out by the company before it became its property.