Remove ads, unlock a dark mode theme, and get other perks by upgrading your account. Experience the website the way it's meant to be.

Police Seek Amazon Echo Data in Murder Case

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Billy Steele, writing at Engadget:

    Amazon’s Echo devices and its virtual assistant are meant to help find answers by listening for your voice commands. However, police in Arkansas want to know if one of the gadgets overheard something that can help with a murder case. According to The Information, authorities in Bentonville issued a warrant for Amazon to hand over any audio or records from an Echo belonging to James Andrew Bates. Bates is set to go to trial for first-degree murder for the death of Victor Collins next year.

    Amazon declined to give police any of the information that the Echo logged on its servers, but it did hand over Bates’ account details and purchases. Police say they were able to pull data off of the speaker, but it’s unclear what info they were able to access. Due to the so-called always on nature of the connected device, the authorities are after any audio the speaker may have picked up that night. Sure, the Echo is activated by certain words, but it’s not uncommon for the IoT gadget to be alerted to listen by accident.

    What a strange new world we live in.

    Mr. Serotonin likes this.
  2. joey-wan kenobi

    Happiness is a warm gun mama

    Eventually there's going to be a case that opens Pandora's box for the police to listen in on any electronic device for "evidence".. just a matter or time.
  3. BradBradley


    Alright... here's my admission that I will admit in mostly Internet anonymity... I live in Bentonville, Arkansas. Grew up here, liked the area enough to move back after college. Point being, I am scared shitless. Fuck Big Brother. This happened down the road. Literally.
  4. Ben Lee

    I drink coffee and dad my kids Supporter

    Interesting and a good debate. Do you have a right to privacy after you take a human life?
    supernovagirl likes this.
  5. Yellowcard2006


    Apple thought so. We already had this situation earlier in the year, and I don't think Apple ever gave in to the requests of the FBI.
  6. aniafc


    But is that the right answer? I'm leaning more towards no, but idk
  7. armistice

    Captain Vietnam: Bestower of Tumors

    So I'll preface this by saying all corporations and law enforcement should go die in a fire, but I like ethics in technology as a discussion topic, so:

    To the question of "right to privacy", we would have to define a lot of ideas and words to frame the discussion, but my answer would definitely be a resounding yes, or I would be fighting the definitions of the aforementioned terms and ideas. Denial of privacy is an abstraction of denial of self. The inflection point is the same as in the discussion about the death penalty.

    To corporations giving into the whims of an already horrendously overpowered "justice" branch of the government that openly targets minorities, they can make their cases without content. The mass surveillance data they already have is far beyond sufficient. The fact that they have too much data to find what they need is a really bad argument for giving them more.

    I'm pretty sure this is all moot though since the assholes can hack anything they want with a warrant now.
    Raku, Jason Tate, aniafc and 2 others like this.
  8. suicidesaints

    Trusted Prestigious

    But they don't know if he took a human life at this point. Innocent until proven guilty?
    Mr. Serotonin and chris-wrecker like this.
  9. Ben Lee

    I drink coffee and dad my kids Supporter

    Well absolutely, I debated including "alleged" in my original post. I don't know where I stand on it, so I like to see the opinions getting posted.
  10. ArsonHoliday

    No sir, I don't like it

    I think it's necessary to include, otherwise Amazon, and any corporation put in a similar position, could potentially be complicit in the imprisonment of an innocent man. Who's to say what they might hear couldn't be twisted in any such way that would aid their case? Just my initial is all fascinating in a twisted way.
  11. Ben Lee

    I drink coffee and dad my kids Supporter

    Who's to say that what they hear doesn't prove his guilt? I feel like in a situation like this, it could just go back and forth like that, question to question. Regardless, I think I side with Amazon here.
    Raku and Mr. Serotonin like this.
  12. ArsonHoliday

    No sir, I don't like it

    Certainly. Indeed, I agree - it's imperative to side with privacy.
    Raku and Mr. Serotonin like this.