Why Amazon bought Roomba
Another reason to join Creative Good.
By Mark Hurst • August 12, 2022

On August 5, the Wall Street Journal reported on Amazon’s planned purchase of iRobot, the maker of Roomba vacuums. From the article:

Its plan to acquire iRobot, maker of the Roomba robot vacuum, for $1.7 billion in cash that was announced Friday morning comes just two weeks after the company announced a $3.9 billion deal to buy primary healthcare provider One Medical. And that came just four months after Amazon closed its $8.5 billion buyout of Hollywood studio MGM . . .

Why is Amazon so interested in vacuums? A few years ago researchers discovered that Roomba units were scanning customers’ floorplans and beaming them back to iRobot for further opaque processing (and possible sharing).

The surveillance vacuums will fit nicely in Amazon’s portfolio of surveillance doorbells connected to the local police department (Ring), surveillance kitchen microphones (Alexa devices), a new high-end rolling surveillance robot (Astro), all gathering data to be deployed in the future in favor of Amazon’s growth-at-any-cost mandate, even at the expense of residents’ wishes or indeed best interests.

. . . so begins Why Amazon bought Roomba, my Forum thread on Amazon’s ambitions. The whole thread is for Creative Good members only, and I’m inviting you to join Creative Good to get access to this and all other posts. A hundred bucks a year will help me keep going with this newsletter, the Forum, and Good Reports. Join here.

The thread continues:

The WSJ recently ran a product-review piece on networked surveillance cameras: Why You Should – or Shouldn’t – Buy a Home Security Camera (by Nicole Nguyen in the WSJ, July 31, 2022). The framing of this tech-booster piece is indicated by the subtitle:

Smart cameras from Ring, Nest, Arlo and others are useful, but you can protect your privacy and that of your neighbors by enabling encryption and other settings.

Ah yes, the settings – generously provided by those compassionate Big Tech monopolies – will surely protect our privacy. . . .

Finally, I want to point out that the Forum offers an overview of many tech-related topics:

New developments in surveillance technology

Correctives to crypto hype

News about Uber and its shady behavior

Considering opioids as an addictive “pharma tech” model

The latest on surveillance glasses, and now, surveillance contact lenses

News about TikTok

Alternative models for musicians, and music streaming

Reviews of tech products that are not devoted to surveillance capitalism

Discussing AI “personhood”

The fashion industry, fast-fashion, and cotton in Xinjiang

Please join me as we create an alternative to the Big Tech-dominated internet.

Until next time,


Mark Hurst, founder, Creative Good – see official announcement and join as a member
Email: mark@creativegood.com
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Twitter: @markhurst

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