We all saw this coming. According to The Information, authorities in Bentonville, Arkansas have issued a warrant to Amazon to deliver any audio and records from an Echo that belongs to James Andrew Bates. Bates is going to trial in 2017 for first-degree murder in the death of Victor Collins.
The Echo’s always on feature is one of the reasons security experts have expressed concerns about the connected device. Authorities are reportedly after any audio Bates’ Amazon Echo might have picked up on the night of the murder.
However, Amazon has reportedly declined to give authorities any information from Bates’ Echo that was logged on Amazon servers, but it did hand over details about Bates’ account and recent purchases.
According to the police, Bates had several other smart devices in his home, including a water meter. The night of the murder, according to the police, the water meter showed that 140 gallons of water were used in Bates’ home between 1 AM and 3 AM. Collins was found dead in Bates’ hot tub in November 2015, and investigators allege the water helped wash away critical evidence.
Bates’ attorney argues the information from the Amazon Echo shouldn’t be allowed to be used in the case. “You have an expectation of privacy in your home, and I have a big problem that law enforcement can use the technology that advances our quality of life against us,” defense attorney Kimberly Weber says.
Amazon Echo is a virtual assistant that provides news, weather, music and other forms of entertainment and information. This might be the first case of its kind, where an Amazon Echo could play a major role in a murder case, but something tells us this won’t be the last.