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Amazon Echo Data Called Upon In Criminal Case

By January 19, 2017May 24th, 2021Cybersecurity

AmazonPrivacy has been on the endangered species list for a while now, but the growing number of smart devices in people’s homes is putting an increasing amount of pressure on what little privacy remains.

Last year, electronics giant Samsung came under fire when it was revealed that its smart TVs recorded everything you said when you were within twenty feet or so of your television.

This should hardly come as a surprise, given the fact that the TV has to do this in order to make use of and get better at understanding a user’s voice commands, but the company spent more than a month responding to outraged complaints.

Now, there’s a new wrinkle, and this time, Amazon’s voice-activated “Echo” device is at the center.

The case in question involves a murder. The victim, Victor Collins, was found dead in a hot tub, and an Amazon Echo was in his immediate vicinity.

The police issued a warrant, demanding that Amazon release the recordings associated with the device on the thinking that they may contain some evidence about who committed the crime.

Amazon has refused to comply, because most of the time, the Echo doesn’t record anything. The only way it would have recorded anything would be if someone had said the words “Amazon” or “Alexa” just prior to the murder. Those are the phrases that trigger the recording process.

Based on this, Amazon has a good chance of defeating the warrant.

However it plays out, you can bet that people who offer voice activated products will be watching the case with interest. If law enforcement is successful in compelling Amazon’s compliance, then it could put a serious damper on the public’s enthusiasm for having these sorts of devices in their homes.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.