Tuesday March 07, 2017

Amazon Agrees to Share Data in Murder Case

Amazon has agreed to share data collected from an Amazon Echo after defendant James Andrew Bates agreed that he didn't mind the information being shared. Amazon had been fighting a subpoena to unlock the recordings in the case by arguing that the data collected by the Alexa software running on the Amazon Echo at the time of the murder are covered by the First Amendment. This also means that the recordings are covered by a citizen's constitutional rights to free speech within their own home.

The Alexa software will listen to a user's voice and make suggestions based on the interactions. The voice commands given to Alexa by a user are recorded to help Amazon tweak the A.I. algorithms to work better. The prosecution in the case is hoping that Alexa holds a recording or picked up on a voice command at the time of the murder. I was really looking forward to seeing how this would play out in court.

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Amazon dropped its fight against a subpoena issued in an Arkansas murder case after the defendant said he wouldn't mind if the technology giant shared information that may have been gathered by an Amazon Echo smart speaker.

James Andrew Bates has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Victor Collins, who was found dead in a hot tub at Bates' home. In paperwork filed Monday, Bates said Amazon could share the information and Amazon said it handed over material on Friday.

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