(credit: Adam Bowie)
Amazon is handing prosecutors cloud-stored data from its Alexa Voice Service that the Arkansas authorities say might be used as evidence in a murder prosecution.
The Seattle-based company originally had balked at a warrant demanding the recorded voice and transcription data from an Amazon Echo near a murder scene. The company claimed that the data, and the responses from the voice assistant itself, were protected by the First Amendment. What’s more, Amazon said that the Arkansas authorities had not demonstrated a “compelling need” for the data.
But the novel and vexing questions this case poses—such as what is the legal standard for when data from an Echo or other Internet of Things devices can be used in a court of law—won’t be answered. The reason? The murder defendant, James Bates, agreed late Monday to allow Amazon to forward his Echo’s data to Arkansas prosecutors.
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