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Can Amazon Echo Testify Against You?

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posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 05:50 PM
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So where exactly is the line between technology and intrusive government devices?
Can Amazon Echo Testify Against You?

Could what you ask your Amazon Echo be used against you in a court of law? A murder case in Bentonville, Arkansas, is putting that question to the test....... local police have issued Amazon a warrant for the voice recordings of Echo owner James Andrew Bates, who is accused of murdering Victor Collins in his hot tub after a night of drinking in November 2015.

In the above case, police confiscated the Echo itself and attempted to extract data from it, but it’s unclear how much they could get — the Echo itself doesn’t have much of a hard drive and almost no information is stored locally on it.


There was a post a couple of days ago someone made a post about your phone listening. It will pick up ads if you talk about something around a smartphone. So basically we know the IoT (internet of things) is listening; but who draws the line on what can be used against you?




posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 06:04 PM
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The way this nation is run they would use your shadow to testify against you if they could. Now a days I would not dare commit a crime because you will get caught with all the cameras everywhere.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 06:06 PM
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Court records show that Amazon twice declined to turn the actual voice-search queries over to the local police, though it also did not comment to the Information about the case in question.


It appears in other investigations the recordings were not turned over by Amazon. Guess we have to see if this will be allowed in court, although, I kind of view it as looking at your computer searches for information and would be admissible with a warrant.

Article says recordings on the echo are stored for up to 6 months and supposedly deleted.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 06:48 PM
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a reply to: Prisoner60863
I’m not committing any crimes but I should be able to have a conversation in my home. This isn’t like sneaking in wal-mart and getting caught on camera

a reply to: annoyedpharmacist
I will be watching this case to see how the ruling falls.

I have an Echo in my home…I love the convenience of it. I can turn on lights and change channels with just a word…..
BUT…when it starts listening to see if I am anti-government…has 1984 arrived? And we paid to put them in our homes. I know that a court ruling doesn’t mean anything to our government but it will make me feel better anyway.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 06:50 PM
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You need to check out black mirror. Especially the episode with the 2 guys in the arctic. It'll blow your mind.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 06:53 PM
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a reply to: PlasticWizard
I've just started watching that but haven't seen that one yet...might have to skip to that. Thanks!



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 06:57 PM
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a reply to: Martin75

It's nuts man. I'm kinda scared of the future now.. So good. I don't want to spoil it.

Good thing about Black Mirror is you don't have to watch them in order. Each episode is independent of the rest. Great series very eye opening to what the future could possibly hold.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 07:15 PM
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originally posted by: annoyedpharmacist



Court records show that Amazon twice declined to turn the actual voice-search queries over to the local police, though it also did not comment to the Information about the case in question.


It appears in other investigations the recordings were not turned over by Amazon. Guess we have to see if this will be allowed in court, although, I kind of view it as looking at your computer searches for information and would be admissible with a warrant.

Article says recordings on the echo are stored for up to 6 months and supposedly deleted.


Stored up to six months for what? That should be a red flag enough for anyone. I bet the claim is to have to do with advertising and or make the product easier for you to use. When you know just as with other terms and conditions, from ISPs to cellphones, they are recording the voice and data in case the alphabet agencies ask for it if you are a suspect.

Same with cell phones, who can record even if the phone if off, we're waving rights of freedom with the ease of everyday conveniences. Under this "snooping" to use the quote "Anything you say can be used against you(even if it's not guilty words)."



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 07:19 PM
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a reply to: PlasticWizard
(Not really a derailment....you really need to watch black mirror!)

The first episode I saw hooked me. It was actually Season 3 Episode 1. The girl trying so hard to bring up her "number" so she could have a better life. I don't have facebook but it reminded me of people talking about getting "likes".




Another awesome one I have seen (yes I jump around) is PlayTest...totally creepy!


Anyway, while these things seem strangely impossible we need to understand that technology is advancing at astronomical rates. What is next?



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 08:10 PM
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a reply to: Martin75

I'm on the last season of black mirror. My opinion, These types of things are entirely possible with the latest advancements in technology(if not already a reality to some extent). the laws are definitely going to change to keep up with it. Just like what you post on fb can be used against you.

Back on the specific topic. I'm sure if something happens in a place with an echo or any of those things, the police would definitely search it's audio for evidence.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 08:12 PM
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a reply to: annoyedpharmacist

If audio is stored on the device, they don't need to go through Amazon to get it. A warrant to search the individual device should be enough. Just like a pc.



posted on Dec, 28 2016 @ 07:59 AM
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"Expectation of privacy". That is the hurdle that would have to be cleared.

What you search for on your echo wouldn't be private.

What you say in its general vicinity while not actively using it would be private and you would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Any deviation from the above would overturn precedent.



posted on Dec, 28 2016 @ 09:26 AM
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Even though there is a feature to delete the stored audio on the servers, I have to wonder if backups still contain the data for their lifetime and if that is way for the deleted audio to be acquired.

Cloud computing may not a grand idea if you value data privacy.



posted on Dec, 28 2016 @ 09:29 AM
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Echo maybe constantly listening, I would think it would only send the audio that is deemed a command. That would be that material stored.

edit on 12/28/2016 by roadgravel because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 28 2016 @ 11:58 AM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
"Expectation of privacy". That is the hurdle that would have to be cleared.

What you search for on your echo wouldn't be private.

What you say in its general vicinity while not actively using it would be private and you would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Any deviation from the above would overturn precedent.


reasonable expectation of privacy has to do with searches without a warrant. It is immaterial to what can be searched and seized with a warrant. That's why they can't do a non-consensual search of your house without a warrant but can with a warrant. There is almost nothing that is protected from a warrant.



posted on Dec, 28 2016 @ 12:13 PM
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originally posted by: PlasticWizard
You need to check out black mirror. Especially the episode with the 2 guys in the arctic. It'll blow your mind.


"White Christmas" is the name of the episode.



posted on Dec, 28 2016 @ 12:19 PM
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originally posted by: F4guy

originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
"Expectation of privacy". That is the hurdle that would have to be cleared.

What you search for on your echo wouldn't be private.

What you say in its general vicinity while not actively using it would be private and you would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Any deviation from the above would overturn precedent.


reasonable expectation of privacy has to do with searches without a warrant. It is immaterial to what can be searched and seized with a warrant. That's why they can't do a non-consensual search of your house without a warrant but can with a warrant. There is almost nothing that is protected from a warrant.


I suppose it comes down to whether you agree that you are not in private when the echo is around.

I cannot sit in your living room and get you to admit to heinous acts while recording you without your written permission. Such recordings are not evidence as they are not admissable.

I suspect Echo has the same. The police aren't allowed to look through your walls to listen to you.



posted on Dec, 28 2016 @ 12:39 PM
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As far as conversation, doesn't it also fall under the wire tap act and state laws.

If it occurs in a one party state, being part of the conversation would probably make it legal.



posted on Dec, 28 2016 @ 04:47 PM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan

originally posted by: F4guy

originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
"Expectation of privacy". That is the hurdle that would have to be cleared.

What you search for on your echo wouldn't be private.

What you say in its general vicinity while not actively using it would be private and you would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Any deviation from the above would overturn precedent.



reasonable expectation of privacy has to do with searches without a warrant. It is immaterial to what can be searched and seized with a warrant. That's why they can't do a non-consensual search of your house without a warrant but can with a warrant. There is almost nothing that is protected from a warrant.


I suppose it comes down to whether you agree that you are not in private when the echo is around.

I cannot sit in your living room and get you to admit to heinous acts while recording you without your written permission. Such recordings are not evidence as they are not admissable.

I suspect Echo has the same. The police aren't allowed to look through your walls to listen to you.


I don't know what law school you went to but you should ask for a refund. You obviously failed Evidence and Crim Procedure, courses I taught at an ABA law school before I became a judge.
With a warrant, the police most certainly CAN look through your walls to listen to you. And the recordings you mention would almost certainly be admissible, either as an admission of a party to the case, or an admission against interest, or just to prove you said it, or, under the new Federal Rules of Evidence, as having a good measure of reliability. Warrants are required to pierce privacy, not to protect it.



posted on Dec, 28 2016 @ 04:51 PM
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originally posted by: roadgravel
As far as conversation, doesn't it also fall under the wire tap act and state laws.

If it occurs in a one party state, being part of the conversation would probably make it legal.

Not if there is a warrant, and, anyway, it would be making a recording without permission that might violate the wiretapping laws, not seizing a recording already made.



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