Amazon Continues Its Mission to Turn Your Home Into a Data Farm

The company acquires Roomba to hoover up more data

Stephen Moore


Not content with the information it already has on us — i.e. far more than it should — Amazon is stepping up its efforts to turn our homes into data farms.

The plan to ‘smart-ify’ our homes has been nearly a decade in the making. It began in 2013 when Amazon acquired Ivona Software, a voice recognition startup. In 2014, they launched the Echo smart speaker, and thanks partly to the Ivona Software it had purchased, “Hey, Alexa” was born. As adoption of these devices increased (Amazon regularly gave them away from nearly nothing to help), the company started acquiring. In the following years, it picked up smart security camera startup Blink for $90 million and the smart doorbell startup Ring for a massive $1 billion. Then in 2021, it launched Astro, a household robot that is basically a Walmart Wall-E, devoid of any personality, charm… and arms. What can it do? Well, it can follow users from room to room, connecting to other Alexa-controlled devices in the household.

And in continuation of its quest to complete the collection of “things that don’t really need to be smart things,” Amazon recently announced it would acquire iRobot, the maker of the popular Roomba smart vacuum, for around $1.7 billion.

Just the small cost of your data

With its army of gadgets, and Alexa’s capability to connect to other smart devices in our homes, like lights, microwaves, thermostats, [insert internet-connected device here], Amazon is offering customers a world where your voice can control almost everything in your home.

The cost for this once-a-black-mirror-esqe-dystopian-nightmare-now-turned-reality?

Your data.

Amazon was already siphoning lots of it from you. It listens to your conversations (the company claims it doesn’t, but your Alexa device is always listening, waiting to be woken up. Oh, and employees listen too). The company also knows what TV you watch, what music you listen to, what items you buy, what groceries you eat, where you live and who comes to your house. The new little robot guy is likely feeding back recordings of what you look like and…