iRobot Root

iRobot Root

iRobot
Bluetooth

Review date: Nov. 1, 2023

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Somewhat creepy

iRobot, the maker of the popular Roomba robot vacuum cleaners, also makes a coding robot for kids six and up! Who knew? Their Root robot kits—they have two—let kids learn to code by programming the robots to drive, turn, draw, light-up, play music, express itself, and more. These kits are good for multiple coding skill levels—from coding with graphical blocks to actually using full-text code. It's very cool to see iRobot—a company we like because they seem to take protecting their users' privacy seriously—make these learning robots for kids.

What could happen if something goes wrong?

iRobot, the Root's parent company, has had some privacy stumbles lately. Screenshots of a woman on the toilet recorded by a test-run Roomba in 2020 ended up on Facebook. And their ongoing acquisition by privacy-bad-guy Amazon is making privacy experts worry for their future. Eek. But since all that doesn't have much to do with their coding robot, we're keeping the iRobot Root in our good books. "Best Of" even!

iRobot Root and the iRobot Coding app do seem to have solid privacy practices. In their educational robots privacy policy, it says that iRobot does not “collect, store, or process personal information from any person.” Now that is one great way to keep your personal data safe -- just don't collect it in the first place! They also say that they don’t “sell, trade, lease, or loan any information” to third parties for any reason. Great again! We appreciate that they state these things explicitly. It’s one of the simplest privacy policies we’ve had the pleasure of reading.

iRobot also shares information about how they keep even analytics and crash reporting data safe. Cool! All in all, these learning robots feel pretty safe, and fun, for your kids despite their parent company’s recent concerns. The only worry we can think of is what might happen to iRobot Root's privacy policies once the Amazon deal to buy iRobot goes through as early as February 2024. It's something to keep an eye on.

Tips to protect yourself

  • Keep your WiFi network password protected with a strong password.
  • Do not sign up with third-party accounts. Better just log in with email and strong password.
  • Chose a strong password! You may use a password control tool like 1Password, KeePass etc
  • Use your device privacy controls to limit access to your personal information via app (do not give access to your camera, microphone, images, location unless necessary)
  • Keep your app regularly updated
  • Limit ad tracking via your device (eg on iPhone go to Privacy -> Advertising -> Limit ad tracking) and biggest ad networks (for Google, go to Google account and turn off ad personalization)
  • Request your data be deleted once you stop using the app. Simply deleting an app from your device usually does not erase your personal data.
  • When starting a sign-up, do not agree to tracking of your data if possible.
  • mobile

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: No

App: No

Microphone

Device: No

App: No

Tracks location

Device: No

App: Yes

What can be used to sign up?

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

Privacy Policy

"iRobot's educational robots and supporting mobile applications do not collect, store, or process personal information from any person, including individuals under the age of 13. “Personal information” refers to any information related to an identified/identifiable individual. An example of personal information would be your name or home address."

"iRobot may analyze non-personal information from the Root® Coding Robots, the Create® 3 Educational Robot, and iRobot Coding Companion App for trends and statistics, such as through the use of Google Analytics or other similar analytics services. “Non-personal information” is information that cannot be related to an identified/identifiable individual. An example of non-personal information would be a robot model number. If any non-personal Information is used for behavioral or product improvements, the data is aggregated and anonymous, and cannot be identified to, or associated with, any particular individual."

"iRobot does not sell, trade, lease or loan any information collected or maintained by your use of a Root® Coding Robot, Create® 3 Educational Robot, or iRobot Coding Companion App to any third party for any reason, including direct marketers, advertisers, or data brokers.

iRobot contracts with service providers to perform business functions or services on iRobot’s behalf and may share non-personal information or aggregated data with such service providers as required to perform their functions."

How can you control your data?

Privacy Policy

iRobot's educational robots and supporting mobile applications do not collect, store, or process personal information from any person, including individuals under the age of 13.

What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?

Average

iRobot Education has no known privacy or security incidents in the last three years.

Child Privacy Information

"iRobot's Root® Coding Robots, Create® 3 Educational Robot, and iRobot Coding Companion App participate in the iKeepSafe Safe Harbor program and do not intentionally collect or maintain information from persons under 13. If you have any questions or need to file a complaint related to our privacy policy and practices, please do not hesitate to contact the iKeepSafe Safe Harbor program at [email protected]"

Can this product be used offline?

No

User-friendly privacy information?

Yes

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Privacy policy

Yes

Does the product use AI? information

No

*privacy not included

Dive Deeper

  • Amazon's Takeover of Roomba-maker on Course for Approval by February
    Gizmodo Link opens in a new tab
  • Your Roomba May Be Mapping Your Home, Collecting Data That Could Be Shared
    New York Times Link opens in a new tab

Comments

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