Privacy fears with AMAZON’s merger bid for iRobot maker Roomba

Amazon has bid billions of dollars for iRobot and primary care provider One Medical These acquisitions, if they go ahead, will give the company access to a vast amount of personal information – like the floor plan of your home, or your medical records
31 August 2022

Amazonhas said it will spend $5.55 billion to acquire primary care provider One Medical and $1.7 billion on iRobot company Roomba, which recently released robots that uses sensors to map and remember house lay outs.

 The retail giant controls around  38 per cent of the US e-commerce market, which allows it to gather granular data about the shopping habits of millions worldwide.

Alex Harman, director of competition policy at the anti-monopoly group Economic Security Project said, ”For them, data is all about getting you to buy more and be locked into their stuff.” 

Unlike Meta and Google, whose focus is mainly on selling ads, Amazon will benefit more from collecting data because its primary goal is to sell products.

Data privacy advocates have expressed concern that the merger is another way Amazon could hover up information to integrate into its other devices or use to target consumers with ads.

Ian Greenblatt, who heads up tech research at the consumer research and data analytics firm J.D. Power said: 

"It's hard to think of another organisation that has as many touch points as Amazon does to an individual.”

Amazon spokeswoman Lisa Levandowski denies the company wants to use the data for targeted advertising.

"We do not use home maps for targeted advertising and have no plans to do so," she said.

Earlier this year, a group of university researchers released a report which found voice data from Amazon's Echo devices are used to target ads to consumers — something the company had denied in the past.

- CyberBeat

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