My wife and I decided to buy a robot vacuum cleaner to improve the comfort of our home. After asking my work colleagues on one of our informal slack channels about their experience, we’ve spend a couple of hours reading reviews on digitec.ch of Roomba and Roborock vacuum cleaners. The Roborock S5 Max had lots of positive reviews and an entry-level price, so we ordered one. We’ve unpacked it on the 27th of December, and after setting it up, I had to install the Roborock Android app on my phone.
“Your personal information will be retained for as long as necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected, or as required or permitted by applicable laws. […] Roborock will continue to retain any data which will be further processed solely for achieving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes, or statistical purposes, even if the further processing of such data has nothing to do with the purpose for which it was collected.”
My problem is that they didn’t mention anonymity here… Basically, they collect data for purpose X and then can use it indefinitely for any purpose, as the categories they mention are vague. Of course, being a Romanian citizen, I am also a European Union citizen and can ask for data deletion, by sending an email to privacy at roborock-eu dot com. Long live the GDPR!
“If you are a European Union user under the GDPR, your personal information will be stored on the server in Germany.” ✌️
Another advantage of the EU.
Initially after reading this, I had the impression they were breaching GDPR, because they didn’t mention which 3rd party providers they use. So I sent an email to dpo at roborock dot com and asked them to clarify. They replied within 12 hours, mentioning:
That’s pretty good customer service. It was a nice surprise.
The Password Policy
Obviously, I accepted all of this because I want to use my little robot 🤓🤖. But still a bad experience.
The robot experience
As I write this article, we have used the robot twice: first to create a map while vacuuming our home, and the second day just vacuuming. For 34 square metres, it first took 40 minutes (while creating the map) and the second time it took 30 minutes. We can watch the cleaning history in the app, what trajectory the robot took in each session. All in all, it was really easy to setup. The robot is pretty smart, gentle on the furniture when bumping into it and quite organized when moving in the home.
Later update (2021-10-24)
This blog post does not suggest that your privacy is respected by Roborock. I do not know how my data is being used. Also, it is worth pondering whether these gimmicks are truly necessary or not (because Want is the Acid consuming our planet). I haven’t used my Roborock in the past 4 months and I don’t necessarily miss it.