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Murder Probe Seeks Answers from Echo

Olivia Long - December 27, 2016 - 09:08 PM
Murder Probe Seeks Answers from Echo
Amazon Echo's recording abilities have been called on to help solve a year-old murder case.

(CCM) — Police in Bentonville, Arkansas have asked Amazon to hand over audio and other records from an Echo device belonging to a murder victim in a still unsolved year-old case. According to reports by USA Today, officials have filled in many of the blanks using traditional investigative methods and are now hoping that recordings taken by the victim's Amazon Echo the night of his murder will help point them to the culprit. Court documents quoted by the publication show that officials are seeking specifically "electronic data in the form of audio recordings, transcribed records, or other text records related to communications and transactions between an Amazon Echo device."

Although Amazon has declined to provide the police with the recordings that they seek, this incident has brought up recurring questions about privacy when an Echo device — which is always on and records audio when prompted by its "wake word" — is present. Fans of the device concerned about their daily interactions being recorded can take comfort in the fact that the Echo constantly replaces its bank of saved recordings, only guarding 60 seconds worth of audio at any given time. They also have the option to shut off the Echo's microphones so that it can't record audio at all.

Image: © Amazon.
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