A judge in the US has asked Amazon to release recordings from an Alexa smart speaker that was present in the New Hampshire house where a double homicide was committed.
The unit could, according to prosecutors, have recorded evidence of how victims Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini died in 2017.
The accused, Timothy Verril, was said to have access to the property, which belonged to Sullivan's boyfriend Dean Smoronk. He was also caught on CCTV close to the time of the murder, talking to the two women.
There's no suggestion that Alexa recorded the whole thing, but prosecutors feel that it could be worth checking in case anything else did get picked up that might be useful.
A phone was paired to the device, and although that is also being investigated, it's not thought that it could be used to cement any conviction.
Amazon initially refused to hand over the recordings on the grounds of consumer privacy, prompting the judges' order.
This is not the first time that Alexa has been asked to "testify" in a murder. Last year, the smart assistant was "subpoenaed" in the trial of James Bates, who is said to have killed his friend Victor Collins.
In this case, even though recordings were presented and evidence was found, it was not enough to avoid the case being thrown out after the judge found that there wasn't enough evidence to discount "other reasonable explanations".
Both men were drinking at the time and Alexa couldn't help with whether the amount in Collins' system could have been a factor, so Bates was released without further charge.
The upshot is that, whilst the issue of 'what the smart assistant saw' is still going to make waves as we come to terms with the fact that we've paid to have listening devices installed in our houses, the way that Alexa recordings work means its unlikely to be a crucial piece of any puzzles.
What these instances do remind us of, however, is that all this stuff we're doing is being recorded and held in warehouses and although the odds are tiny, they can be retrieved and they can be used against us.
Or it might just cut through the crap and call the police itself.
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