Amazon Resists Handing Over Echo Murder Evidence Call

(Amazon Echo Speaker/ pc-Google Images)

Amazon is resisting calls to hand over recordings from an Amazon Echo speaker as part of a murder investigation.

The case involves an Arkansas man, Victor Collins who was found floating face up in a friend’s hot tub. The friend, James Bates, is suspected of and denies first-degree murder.

Prosecutors believe the music had been streamed to the back patio at the time of death, which they said may have been controlled via the Echo’s smart assistant Alexa.

Amazon’s lawyers filed a motion last week that refused access to the data based on First Amendment and privacy implications, arguing that the State has not produced compelling evidence that to do otherwise would help settle the case.

Amazon told the Associated Press: “Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.”

The Echo is a hands-free speaker users control with their voice. It uses a processor to identify a “wake word” and in response to the word connects to Amazon’s cloud-based Alexa Voice Service to receive and respond to voice commands.

This audio is then transmitted to Amazon’s computer servers, which interpret the request and tell it how to respond.

In December 2016, Amazon was issued with two search warrants but refused to share information sent by the smart device to its servers.

Leave a Reply