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Bentonville murder case test limits of Amazon.com’s privacy policies

Be careful what you say around your Amazon Echo. Your words may be recorded and used against you in court.

In what may be the first case of its kind, police investigating a murder in Bentonville, Arkansas, issued a warrant to Amazon.com to turn over audio and other records from an Echo. (Subscription to TheInformation.com required to read full story.)

Amazon is declining to hand over the audio records transmitted through the Echo device, which belongs to the man charged in the killing, despite a search warrant from police who are investigating the case.

The Echo isn’t the only device that investigators may find helpful. Several other smart devices were found in the home, CNET reports.

“Our agency now has the ability to utilize data extraction methods that negate the need for pass codes and efforts to search … devices will continue upon issuance of this warrant,” the warrant says.

Police also found a Nest thermostat, a Honeywell alarm system, wireless weather monitoring in the backyard and WeMo devices for lighting at the smart home crime scene. Ultimately, information from a smart meter might prove to be the most useful. Every home in Bentonville is hooked up to a smart meter that measures hourly electricity and water usage; police found that Bates used an “excessive amount of water” during the time of the alleged drowning.

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AMP Staff

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