Always on technology, Amazon’s Echo device is only a single example of numerous devices in our lives that accomplish this marvel, is in the spotlight in a murder court case – “Police in Arkansas want to know if one of the gadgets overheard something that can help with a murder case. According to The Information, authorities in Bentonville issued a warrant for Amazon to hand over any audio or records from an Echo belonging to James Andrew Bates. Bates is set to go to trial for first-degree murder for the death of Victor Collins next year.”
Echo only captures audio and streams it to the cloud when the device hears the wake word “Alexa.” A ring on the top of the device turns blue to give a visual indication that audio is being recorded. Those clips, or “utterances” as the company calls them, are stored in the cloud until a customer deletes them either individually or all at once. When that’s done, the “utterances” are permanently deleted. What’s more, the microphones on an Echo device can be manually turned off at any time.
Of course, you must delete the utterances from them to be gone …
I love the application and possibility of these technologies. While this is a good query into privacy protections and safeguards, there is much advantage to these technologies. It’ll be good to have the privacy concerns settled as it will further open the door for greater uses – medical, education, early childhood support, hospitality (already being done at the Wynn in Vegas), and more.