Amazon's 'Alexa' may have witnessed New Hampshire double slayings, cops say

Irving Hamilton
November 15, 2018

Echo data has previously been used in a murder case, but only after the defendant consented.

Authorities investigating a suspected double homicide in Farmington, New Hampshire, noticed an Amazon Echo in the home where two women were apparently killed, and a judge has now ordered Amazon to turn over three days' worth of audio from the device, TechCrunch reports.

He ordered the tech giant to turn over recordings from January 27 to January 29, when Christine Sullivan, 48, and Jenna Pelligrini, 32, were stabbed to death, the Washington Post reported. He denies the accusations and is awaiting trial in May next year. The Echo was found at the house where the women were discovered, with police seizing the device after searching the place. It's unclear if the smart speaker contains any audio evidence, however, the court found probable cause recordings maintained on an Amazon server could contain "evidence of crimes committed against Ms. Sullivan, including the attack and possible removal of the body from the kitchen".

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The Echo only starts recording when it hears certain wake words, but it's not uncommon for it to mishear things and accidentally begin recording.

"Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us", Amazon said in a statement. But because your Echo is listening, and because they do send recordings of your queries back to Amazon, prosecutors in a case want Amazon to make data from a particular smart speaker accessible to them.

The company said, 'Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course'.

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