Ummm, note to Amazon, here's your compelling need. Someone is accused of murder. The audio you have may be the conclusive evidence to prove guilt or innocence. And there's a legally obtained search warrant. Don't forget that. Stop being jerks, Amazon, just because you think you can.
This is not a civil case it is a criminal one, and a murder case at that, so that information is, in fact, rather important.
Brian M
aksdad- So you are saying that the government has the right to listen into private conversations without a warrant (before the event)?
The real issue is of course why is Amazon recording this information to begin with? Should be - Process, respond then delete permanently
Question: Who is Alexa? There isn't any reference of his/her role in the story.
This case will determine the future direction of AI technology. Amazon (and others) upload audio and process it on their own, powerful machines. But if government can eaves-drop, then customers won't put up with that. If Amazon loses, then either (1) the processing will need to be done locally, in the customer's machine, or (2) the processing and storage will have to move to a "safe" country, where local warrants are not honored. Either way, strong encryption is needed. Many customers understand that when government gets a little crack in your privacy (for legitimate purpose), they will then make up excuses to get everything. Shut the door now.
Why of course... as soon as people stop and realize this thing can (and will) listen in on anything and everything Amazon's marketing department wants, they'll hopefully realize how foolish it is to have it in their home and get rid of it. Amazon wants it reserved for marketing purposes, certainly not for anything so noble as finding the truth behind a murder.
Bob Flint
This, & camera nannies, nest devices, and self driving cars will be the see-all know all devices just around the corner....
Expanded Viewpoint
@ aksdad, the operative word here is MAY be. There is no conclusive evidence pointing straight to a certainty that the potential information being sought is needed. It's just a fishing expedition to see how far they can push their ALLEGED power and authority. The general idea of the Void for Vagueness Doctrine applies here. When in doubt, throw it out, otherwise due process is being ignored. Case closed on that point. If Alexa communicates with Echo via regular telecom lines, then the NSA et al already have that data and THEY are the ones who should be getting subpoenas for it, not Amazon, unless the government wants to walk into the trap of exposing the fact that ALL businesses which have taken out a business license are actually mere extensions of the State, and therefore have no 4th or 5th Amendment Rights. Corporations being artificially created entities of the State have been ruled in many cases to having no such rights on those very grounds. The creator of the thing is the owner and master of the thing. Look them up if you don't believe me. @Pablo. Yes, you are 100% right in your observations there. If this goes against Amazon, they will stand to lose nearly every cent that they put into developing Alexa and the Echo device and any profits it might generate for them. It's merely a good business move for them to appear to be standing up for your rights when they have no need or obligation to do so. Like I said above, the road pirates only need to issue a subpoena duces tecum to the NSA, et al to get what they want. But the bottom line here is that if I were that guy under suspicion, I would be challenging the legal system itself, proving that it is totally corrupted and biased against me, and therefore has no standing to sue me. What is the EXACT AMOUNT of fraud that ANY man or woman has the right to commit? What is the EXACT AMOUNT of fraud that ANY man or woman has an actual obligation to endure? What is the BASIC PREMISE that is being operated off of, in the instant case? Those simple questions totally DESTROY any pretense of the legal system having any valid rights to exist.
OK, I am confused. The First Amendment? Free speech, right to peaceably assemble, right to practice religion- where does that fit in here?
Wouldn't it be more appropriate to cite the Fourth and Fifth Amendments?
Ed Llorca
BrianM, PiperTom and Kpar are so right. I see Amazon telling authorities they cannot eavesdrop on citizens but it seems OK for Amazon to eavesdrop on citizens. In my world I would shut that two-faced company down so fast they wouldn't know what happened.