iRobot, the company behind the Roomba vacuum, along with other cleaning robots, has sold 15 million of those little suckers worldwide. Part of the Roomba’s brilliance is mapping your house in order to be as effective and efficient as possible. However, many people are not aware of this mapping feature, and even those who are may not realize that the mapping data – i.e. the map of their home – is being sent back to iRobot HQ, and stored in the cloud. Nor have they likely realized that iRobot might like to share the map of their home with others. But that is exactly part of iRobot’s business strategy.
For more than four years we have been telling you that law enforcement can get to any electronic communications you have stored for more than 180 days in the cloud (and that ‘cloud’ is just a fancy word for “somebody else’s computer”). This is because the Electronics Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) only requires a subpoena in order for a governmental agency to get at those communications records that you have stored on that third-party server – they do not need a warrant.
Relying on the Internet as your co-pilot for navigational technology is not without its pitfalls. Sometimes it can lead to humourous situations, like the woman caught peeing in the street by Google maps, but sometimes it can also lead to horrific outcomes, like the Google map that is thought to have lead to the death of James Kim when he took a route suggested by Google maps that was otherwise known to have been treacherous. This week, Google maps is being blamed for the accidental demolition of the home belonging to Lindsey Diaz, of Rowlett, Texas.
Nigerian scammers have taken Internet scams to a new high (or low): selling your house, without your knowledge, and having the proceeds go to them. All done remotely, primarily via the Internet, with a little fax and phone thrown in. Of course, now that Nigerian scammers have pulled this off successfully (yes, successfully – just ask Roger Mildenhall about the Perth, Australia house that used to be his), we’re sure that other scammers around the world will be trying it.