July 16, 2024


Unlimited Technology

Bonkers Amazon Astro robot ‘could record SECRET footage of you at home’

AMAZON’S new camera-equipped robot has been described by the firm’s own employees as a “privacy nightmare”, according to a report.

Leaked internal documents seen by Vice reveal that staff tasked with building Astro expressed doubts over its durability and reliance on controversial facial recognition technology.

Amazon unveiled a camera-equipped robot on Tuesday


Amazon unveiled a camera-equipped robot on TuesdayCredit: Reuters
According to Amazon, users can deploy the $999 machine to patrol their homes, calling it a breakthrough for security and convenience


According to Amazon, users can deploy the $999 machine to patrol their homes, calling it a breakthrough for security and convenience

One developer on the project, unveiled by the US e-commerce giant on Tuesday, called it a “disaster that’s not ready for release”.

According to Amazon, users can deploy the $999 machine to patrol their homes, calling it a breakthrough for security and convenience.

But the leaked documents paint a picture of unrest among the engineers and other employees who helped put the ambitious project together.

Vice also acquired internal video recordings related to Astro and spoke to multiple insiders who are said to have been developers on the project.

One staff members is said to have called Astra “terrible,” branding the idea that it’d be a useful accessibility device “absurdist nonsense.”

Apparently, the robot doesn’t handle stairs well, with one person  saying that it would “throw itself down” them “if presented the opportunity.”

  • Read all the latest Phones & Gadgets news
  • Keep up-to-date on Apple stories
  • Get the latest on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram

The robot’s durability was also called into question. Vice reported that it is fragile and that several devices had broken.

Sources told the publication that the pricey contraption’s facial recognition technology was also not up to scratch.

Apparently, Astro isn’t great at recognising people it should know. This puts it into “sentry mode”, in which it follows the “intruder” around the home.

One source told Vice that the amount of data the robot collects makes it a “privacy nightmare”.

In response to the report, Amazon claimed that the leaked documents were out of date and that the characterisations in the report did not reflect how well Astro works today.

“These characterizations of Astro’s performance, mast, and safety systems are simply inaccurate,” a spokesperson said.

“Astro went through rigorous testing on both quality and safety, including tens of thousands of hours of testing with beta participants.

“This includes comprehensive testing on Astro’s advanced safety system, which is designed to avoid objects, detect stairs, and stop the device where and when necessary.”

Astro is a roughly two-foot (60 centimeters) tall and 20-pound (nine kilograms) device that can map out a house floor plan.

According to Amazon, the robot can obey commands to go to a specific place to take a closer look with its telescoping camera.

The device, which can work with Amazon’s digital home assistant Alexa, can be taught to recognise faces and learn the habits of household members.

The tech giant cheered the “Astro” robot as a breakthrough for security and convenience, but digital watchdogs raised concerns for potential risks to people’s most private moments at home.

Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at digital watchdog group Electronic Frontier Foundation, raised concerns about the device potentially allowing hackers to see into a user’s home or police seeking access to it via a search warrant.

“There are some scenarios in which (Astro) could be useful; there are some scenarios in which a surveillance camera on your house could be useful, too,” he told AFP.

“But the problem is that you need to know that it comes off with a trade-off of vulnerability,” he added.

Amazon staff have reportedly called the robot a 'privacy nightmare'


Amazon staff have reportedly called the robot a ‘privacy nightmare’Credit: AFP
New £180k Lamborghini cleans your house, cooks you dinner and entertains your kids

In other news, check out our iPhone 13 review and iPhone 13 Pro review.

Take a look at the new Lamborghini Huracan Evo that can clean your house and cook you dinner.

Find out about the wildly impressive Panasonic 65HZ1000 TV, which makes most tellies look rubbish.

Read our complete guide to Call of Duty Vanguard.

And Dell’s Alienware R10 Ryzen Edition is a gaming PC powerhouse that crushes both the new consoles.

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at [email protected]

Source News