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Amazon fights Echo search warrant in murder case

by Todd Haselton | February 23, 2017February 23, 2017 8:00 am PDT

Back in December, we covered a story that revealed police investigators wanted to dig into Amazon Alexa data in an effort to help solve a murder case. Prosecutors have since obtained a warrant to look into an Amazon Echo unit owned by James Andrew Bates, the accused murderer, but Amazon is fighting to keep it private.

According to Forbes, Amazon is arguing that digging into the Amazon Echo’s data would violate first amendment rights, or the right to free speech. The news outlet said that Amazon also believes that the response given by Echo to Bates is also protected by the first amendment. That’s pretty wild to think about, since it suggests a computer is also protected under the same amendment that Bates is

“At the heart of that First Amendment protection is the right to browse and purchase expressive materials anonymously, without fear of government discovery,” Amazon said, according to Forbes . “The responses may contain expressive material, such as a podcast, an audiobook, or music requested by the user. Second, the response itself constitutes Amazon’s First Amendment-protected speech.”

A promise to customer privacy

Amazon has said it sticks by customer privacy, and this is a good example of how it’s abiding by that promise… even in the face of murder.

Forbes

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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