A robot vacuum cleaner took images of a woman sitting on a toilet seat with that images ending up on Facebook, according to a report in Fortune. The leak happened through a third party that serves artificial intelligence (AI), prompting experts to issue warning about bringing technology into your home. The photo was leaked in 2020 and shows the woman in a lavender t-shirt on the toilet, her shorts pulled down to mid-thigh. The photo was taken by a development version of iRobot's Roomba J7 series vacuum cleaner, the outlet further said.
The images were sent to Scale AI, a start-up that has tie-ups with companies around the world and asks them to label audio, photo and video to train artificial intelligence, said the Fortune report.
The woman had volunteered to test the new version of the robotic vacuum cleaner. The company, meanwhile, said that it had informed the participants how the data will be used and added that all its robotic models have "recording in progress" tabs.
But after the leak, iRobot cut ties with the third party and launched an investigation, the Fortune report further said.
iRobot said in a statement that the company "takes data privacy and security very seriously-not only with its customers but in every aspect of its business, including research and development". It added that the models in customer's homes are not the same as the production one that clicked the photo.
The incident has added to the growing mistrust on internet-connected devices that regularly capture images and other data and send back to the cloud, which have stricter storage and access controls.
But, according to Technology Review, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) tech department was able to obtain 15 of these private photos, which had been posted to closed social media groups.
These pictures include rooms from homes around the world, furniture and objects located on the walls and ceilings, said the outlet.
There are growing concerns around the need for the AI to be regulated. While the United States is still trying to find a way to put stringent checks on artificial intelligence, the European Union announced last year it would create a broad standard for regulating or banning certain uses of AI.