iRobot agrees to be acquired by Amazon for $1.7 billion. iRobot got its start building robots for the US military, but 20 years ago added consumer vacuums to the mix. Those Roombas work in part by using sensors to map the homes they operate in.

iRobot CEO Colin Angle suggested the company might someday share that data with tech companies developing smart home devices and AI assistants. The ecommerce giant acquired video doorbell company Ring in 2018 and Wi-Fi router-maker Eero a year later. Combined with other recent acquisition targets, Amazon could wind up with a comprehensive look at what’s happening inside people's homes.

Amazon plans to acquire primary care chain One Medical in a $3.49 billion all-cash deal. “People tend to think of Amazon as an online seller company, but really Amazon is a surveillance company. That is the core of its business model, and that’s what drives its monopoly power and profit,” says Evan Greer, director of the nonprofit digital rights organization Fight for the Future.

Amazon has a track record of making or acquiring technology that makes those concerned with data privacy uneasy. Amazon declined to respond to questions about how it would use iRobot data, but a spokesperson said the company had been a good steward of customer information. "Customer trust is something we have worked hard to earn—and work hard to keep—every day," the statement said.

Last month, Ring admitted to sharing home video footage with law enforcement without a warrant. Amazon already has its own home robot, Astro, which it introduced last fall. In 2020, Amazon introduced a home security drone, and last month Ring admitted sharing footage with police and fire departments.
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