One of the most ardent topics of concern in 2016 was the digital privacy issue. People refuse to let hackers or even authorities in their digital world. Companies that failed to provide security to their customers were greatly punished by their fans. As of recently, police demanded Amazon Echo to reveal valuable information that would solve a criminal case. However, if officials succeed in their plan, the case will be settled, but there can be a legal precedent also. This subject raised yet another topic of controversy regarding the digital privacy issue.
Arkansas detectives contacted Amazon Inc. in a bid to cooperate in a criminal case. The authorities are pursuing a confidential disclosure that may as well offer evidence that can convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt. The criminal case is already one-year-old. The house of the suspects was filled with Internet of Things devices. Among these was a personal digital assistant bot, namely the Amazon Echo.
What detectives are after is a possible recording that Echo performed during a murder. At the time when the suspects caught their victim, the device was playing music online. The detectives are asking to find out if the bot has been recording any sound during the event. Amazon had stated before that their Echo bots are programmed to be listening most of the time. However, the device can record their well-known commands only. For instance, they respond to Alexa, the name of the artificial intelligence agent, by waking up.
The authorities are on the same quest for other smart appliances in that house too. If they receive these requirements, the privacy of all digital products owners will no longer be safe. Thus, this case can create legal precedent. This means that if there is going to be another criminal act, the detectives can obtain such digital evidence from another Amazon Echo more easily. While this situation can solve many cases from now on, it will also turn devices against their owners. Any mobile phone, personal digital assistant, laptop, computer, and other smart appliances will receive permission to denounce their owners.
People will continue to watch how this controversy continues to unfold. For the moment, Amazon refused to disclose private information to the authorities. However, if the detectives present the company a valid and binding document with their requirement, Amazon will have no other choice but to gratify it and there will be a legal precedent.
Image source: 1