Smart Home
A smart home connectivity setup is seen in this picture illustration. Pixabay

Update, 4:21 a.m. EDT

iRobot CEO Colin Angle has issued a clarification over reports the company was planning to sell customer data, stating the company "doesn't sell customer data" and believes "that in the future, this information (the data it collectes through its connected products) could provide even more value for our customers by enabling the smart home and the devices within it to work better, but always with their explicit consent."

"iRobot does not sell customer data. Our customers always come first. We will never violate our customer’s trust by selling or misusing customer-related data, including data collected by our connected products. Right now, the data Roomba collects enables it to effectively clean the home and provides customers with information about cleaning performance. iRobot believes that in the future, this information could provide even more value for our customers by enabling the smart home and the devices within it to work better, but always with their explicit consent," Angle stated in an email to the International Business Times on Saturday.

Original Story:

The Roomba has made a name for itself as an alternative to traditional vacuum cleaners. What you might not know is that future models could collect indoor mapping data.

The company behind the Roomba, iRobot, plans to sell spatial data i.e. the dimensions of a room and distance between sofas, tables and lamps, as a revenue strategy, and is planning to utilise the Roomba as a mapping bot rather than a cleaning one.

"There's an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” iRobot CEO Colin Angle told Reuters Monday, describing the use of indoor mapping data.

Read: Smart Homes' Basic Setup: 5 Devices You Need, Prices And Risks Involved

While there are no security protocols or safety guidelines for indoor data mapping currently, companies like iRobot want to collect such data from smart devices placed inside a home and sell it to the highest bidder.

With companies like Amazon, Google and Apple investing in smart home technology, it wouldn't be hard to find buyers of this collected data.

But a more pressing concern is the collection and use of such data by companies that make smart home products as they are not governed by any special protocols or guidelines, and data collection using such devices is currently free-for-all.

Any such device can collect, store and transmit user data, without any need for user consent. While data mapping and permissions can be monitored on smartphones, it is tough to do so on smart devices.

While your communications might be monitored using devices such as smart speakers, devices such as smart TVs can also be hacked as was shown by the CIA’s Weeping Angel leak, which revealed the intelligence agency was listening in to people by hacking into Samsung Smart TVs.

Generally such data is collected in large volumes from multiple sources, so the chances that your data will compromise your security from the company-end are minimal. But Angle is yet to answer what if a hacker gained access to devices such as the Roomba and used the mapping data to threaten your security.

A smart home is a minefield of data from different connected devices. Without security protocols in place, such devices might be easily hacked and even remotely encrypted — you might become a victim of ransomware, which could actually lock your smart home down and debilitate all your devices.

Read: Smart Home Speaker Market Seeing Growth, But Consumers Want Better Assistants

As smart, connected homes become more commonplace due to smart speakers and smart vacuum cleaners among other smart devices, privacy concern seems to have been thrown out of the window. Despite revelations of the malafide usage of such devices, the U.S. government is yet to issue guidelines to smart home device makers.

While smart home devices offer a lot of convenience, they also come with a high risk possibilities, unless proper security guidelines are put into place.