Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot are in millions of homes now, with holiday sales more than quadrupling from 2015. Always listening for its wake word, the breakthrough smart speakers boast seven microphones waiting to take and record your commands.
Now, Arkansas police are hoping an Echo found at a murder scene in Bentonville can aid their investigation.
First reported by The Information, investigators filed search warrants to Amazon (see below), requesting any recordings between November 21 and November 22, 2015, from James A. Bates, who was charged with murder after a man was strangled in a hot tub.
While investigating, police noticed the Echo in the kitchen and pointed out that the music playing in the home could have been voice activated through the device. While the Echo records only after hearing the wake word, police are hoping that ambient noise or background chatter could have accidentally triggered the device, leading to some more clues.
Amazon stores all the voice recordings on its servers, in the hopes of using the data to improve its voice assistant services. While you can delete your personal voice data, there’s still no way to prevent any recordings from being saved on a server. (Read more from “Think Amazon Echo, Other Home Smart Devices Won’t Disclose Private Conversations? Police Armed With Search Warrants Have Different Plans” HERE)