“Lie together, cry together, and I swear to God, I hope we f-ing die together, to get by, you’re all I need.”
Earlier this month stories started coming out about how both the Amazon Echo and Google Home were eavesdropping on you even when they were in sleep mode.
This creates a particular interesting wrinkle in evidence collection.
As a result of this revelation, authorities were attempting to access James Andrew Bates’ Amazon Echo recordings to aid in the investigation of the murder of Victor Collins from November 2015.
In this instance the device in question is an Amazon Echo, which answers to the name “Alexa” which admittedly has a very Her vibe about it.
I’ll spare you the details on how Collins was murdered, but if we’re being honest I don’t trust anyone with two first names, there’s Jared Lee Loughner, Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, John Wilkes Booth, Mark David Chapman, Gary Leon Ridgway, John Wayne Gacy, and Paul John Knowles.
So, Mr. Bates is looking pretty guilty to me right from the jump.
Unfortunately, the police in Bentonville, Arkansas aren’t at liberty to make convictions based on my hunch (even though it’s 100% right) and have issued a warrant for Bates’ device. But to channel college football legend and potential dementia patient, Lee Corso: Not so fast my friend!
While Alexa may be intently listening to your every request, she ain’t no snitch.
The Amazon Echo device records bits and pieces of your speech when you make a request, but during other times it listens more passively, hearing what you’re saying, but without making recordings.
Amazon has already declined requests to turnover recordings of voice requests in the past, but even if they wanted to turn over what Alexa heard while in sleep mode, they wouldn’t be able to.
Alexa is the type of ride or die companion we all go through life looking for, Bates’ smart water meter on the other hand, rolled on him quicker than you can say “Big Brother.”
The water meter data revealed that Bates used a significant amount of water between 1 and 3 a.m. on the date in question, which coincidentally lines up with the window of time that blood from the crime scene supposedly would have been cleaned up…
So, if you have a voice assistant you don’t need to be too worried because they’ve got your back. They’re faithful listeners, but they know when to keep their yaps shut.
However, when it comes to smart water meters, you’ve got a rat living right under your nose ready to turn you over to the feds without a second thought.
Bates trial is set to begin in 2017.