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How Can Smart Gadgets Follow Us? (2023)

how can smart gadgets follow us

The smart home full of robots working from voice control is not now only an expensive solution for rich people. More and more fresh-built apartments and homes already have automated control systems & smart gadgets with access to Wi-Fi networks.

This system controls all electric equipment, including a robot vacuum cleaner, coffee machine, and electric sockets.

From any remote place, you can start mopping, close curtains, and check if you forget to turn off the iron. Smart devices save our time and give comfort by learning our regular habits.

But do you think about how much information these gadgets know about you and that they can use it somewhere against you?

How Gadgets Follow Us?

There are two ways how gadgets can follow their owners: with a camera or microphone.

Typically, audio recordings are less painful for owners, as they are rarely associated with a specific person. Audio recordings, for example, are used by Apple; it is a well-known fact if you say something in your conversation, you will receive a proposal to buy it on your phone.

Also, Siri, the Apple voice assistant, likes to record details of confidential medical information or contract negotiations. Apple replied, for all accuses, that this information is used only to understand better the owner’s voice, securely stored, and does not go any further.

Mobile phones and smart watches also track the owner’s geolocation, which is helpful for older people and kids but can be used by police.

Videos can provide more stress and show all aspects of personal life where there could be no sounds with the face. Recently, some private photos made by robotic vacuum cleaners were posted on Facebook.

The iRobot company that produced this vacuum cleaner explained that that was a development model, recording owners by purpose, but photos appeared on Facebook by mistake. All participants of tests had been aware of such risk.

Also, there are unlimited cases when a camera from your PC or laptop records your personal life without the owner’s knowledge. Hackers all over the world find a way to connect also to baby monitors and other safety cameras.

So, there is a potential threat to all gadgets connected to Wi-Fi with microphones and video cameras.

Why Gadgets Follow Us?

All gadgets that have recording devices have them for purposes. It is a mistake to believe that gadgets were developed to follow people. Explanations provided by Manufacturers are always reasonable.

For example, a microphone on the phone is required for conversation, and a video camera on PC is required for video chat. Antiviruses have a special function of microphone and video camera control to prevent third parties access to your inventory.

Nevertheless, the risk of becoming popular on the Internet is zero during the regular operation of all domestic gadgets. Let’s overview the example of a vacuum robotic cleaner.

Why do Robotic Cleaners Have a Camera?

Roomba is one of the top brands of vacuum cleaners today; iRobot Company produces these robots. In 2021, they sold more than 40 million robots worldwide. The navigation system of Roomba’s cleaners has changed through the years.

Older models have sensor navigations (drop detectors, carpet, obstacle, wall, and dirt sensors). Then it was replaced by LIDAR navigation based on lasers to find objects in the room and calculate the distance to them.

Some modern robots use a video camera to navigate during cleaning and avoid obstacles and furniture.

The built-in camera also can be used as a security camera for your home.

The most effective way of navigation is camera mapping with SLAM (SLAM helps a robot build floor maps), but this method also has a disadvantage; the camera can’t see at night and shadow unless equipped with IR vision.

In 2021, the j7+ model with a built-in camera and AI were released to avoid obstacles and dog droppings in real time.

Precision Navigation 3.0 has learned thousands of algorithms to avoid phone cords, cables, toys, and furniture, without impacting the cleaning quality. There are no recordings of any videos or photos used by Third-Parties.

The previous model, the i7 also has a real-time camera but the previous model. If you have doubts about navigation, you can check more detailed reviews about Roomba j7 or i7, you will not see any comments that they are following owners.

How To Choose a Smart Gadget?

You might still be concerned about your safety, but you still want to achieve the convenience of smart control of your home. Almost all smart gadgets so far do not send video or audio to the Internet.

But this will change, and more apps will provide online access to your doorbell or refrigerator.

Gadgets developers do not intend to create a high-level spy device, and all the following functions aim to perform the device’s primary function.

Think positively about your gadgets; you may use a real-time camera with a two-way connection as an additional security camera or a way to communicate with your kids or dog from home.

You may use the recorded videos from the entrance door intercom to analyze the visitor’s traffic or delivery quality.

Do not limit your choice to gadgets with no microphones or cameras; you could not normally live without smartphones or a PC. There are plenty of security cameras in the street.

For illegal recordings, several cases had already appeared in court. And you can always charge the Manufacturer for making you a YouTube star.


The world is changing, and more and more smart gadgets appear in our lives. There are rumors on the Internet that they are able to follow the owners. The good news is that all devices do not do this on purpose.

It does not make sense to choose old models and try to stop the future. You should rely on Manufactures and, if possible, disconnect smart gadgets from Wi-Fi while they are not in use.

If any severe case happens to breach your privacy, you can sue the Manufacturer in court and become a millionaire.

Kevin James

Kevin James

I'm Kevin James, and I'm passionate about writing on Security and cybersecurity topics. Here, I'd like to share a bit more about myself. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity from Utica College, New York, which has been the foundation of my career in cybersecurity. As a writer, I have the privilege of sharing my insights and knowledge on a wide range of cybersecurity topics. You'll find my articles here at, covering the latest trends, threats, and solutions in the field.