amazon echoThe Amazon Echo is a device that listens out for voice commands from its users, which means that it is essentially a treasure trove of information that we reckon all kinds of people or organizations could exploit, whether it be for snooping or for targeted marketing. It also seems that it could potentially be used to help with a murder investigation.


According to a report from The Information (paywall; via Engadget), it seems that the police in Arkansas have requested for Amazon to turn over data from the Amazon Echo with regards to an ongoing murder investigation. They seem to believe that the Echo might have picked up some audio clues as to what happened in the murder of Victor Collins as allegedly perpetrated by James Andrew Bates.

Note that the Echo is activated only when the user says the keyword “Alexa”, but if you have an Android or iOS device, you’ll know that sometimes some words can sound like the keyword and accidentally activate the voice assistant. Amazon stores its users requests in the cloud which can be deleted by the customer, it’s this information that the police seem to want access to.

However in a statement provided to Engadget, it seems that Amazon will not be complying with this particular request. “Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.”

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