Amazon is declining to hand over the voice-records transmitted through an Echo device that belongs to a man charged with murder, despite a search warrant from the police investigating the case.
According to The Information’s Tom Dotan and Reed Albergotti, the Echo device in question was owned by James Andrew Bates, a Bentonville, Arkansas resident charged with first-degree murder earlier this year.
A man was found dead in a hot tub at Bates’ home last year, and the police believe additional evidence for the case could be found in the Echo device, which was used during the night of the murder.
The report says Amazon refused to hand over the voice-data on two separate occassions, although it did share Bates’ account information and purchase history. The police were able to take some information out of the device, but it’s unclear what that included.
Amazon’s representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.
This is likely the first murder case involving a search warrant for the Echo, Amazon’s smash-hit voice-controlled device. The Echo is only able to record the voice when it’s activated by a wake-word, like “Alexa,” but is capable of playing music, reading the news, or making certain types of orders through the voice. There’s also the chance that the device was triggered accidentally, causing it to record a snippet of conversation that could be of use in the case.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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