Murder in a smart home

ZDNet: Amazon agrees to hand over Echo records for murder case

Could AI witness a murder? On Wednesday, it was reported that Amazon complied with law enforcement demands and handed over recordings from its Echo product, a smart speaker with a built-in AI named Alexa. The Echo could become the key witness in a murder case, as it was use in the home while someone was possibly murdered. The defendant “said he didn’t mind if Amazon released the audio recordings to prosecutors” so they were released.

I find this particularly relevant to IT ethics and the law because it shows how these IoT devices in smart homes could be collecting private data which may be a key piece of evidence in a criminal investigation. Previously, the government would have less evidence to use in such a case, but with a combination of sensing devices in the smart home, lots of incriminating data may be found. Would this data fall under 4th amendment protection, or could law enforcement get it without one? Such data could help decide other cases too, or provide a great spying tool.

Privacy must be considered when adopting such new technologies, otherwise the Internet of Things could become an Internet of Witnesses.

 
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