Smart Technology Devices to Testify in Criminal Cases?

Smart Assistant Technology Devices to Testify in Criminal Cases?

Be careful what you tell Siri and Alexa. Your Smart Speaker could later testify against you.

The ways we use and allow technology into our everyday lives continues to expand. One of the newest popular tech developments, “smart speakers,” allows people to search the web, play music, and go online shopping by using voice commands alone. The smart speakers have personal assistants that you can give the various voice commands to. These smart speakers and their respective personal assistants include:

  • Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, and Echo Dot- Alexa
  • iPhone and Apple Devices- Siri
  • Android and Google Devices- Google Assistant
  • Microsoft devices- Cortana

What you might not know, however, is that these devices are recording what you say to them and the recordings are stored in servers. These recordings have been recently placed at the center of a debate regarding privacy rights and personal technology.

The debate began when Amazon was served with a search warrant ordering the company to release voice recordings or saved data from a device owned by James A. Bates, a man accused in Arizona of killing his friend, Victor Collins. Perhaps authorities believe Bates searched for “How to Get Away With Murder” or went online shopping for the murder weapon. Amazon has refused to comply to what it says to be an “overbroad and otherwise inappropriate” demand. If Amazon continues to deny access, the online retail giant may end up in court as prosecutors try to force the company to comply. Without a specific reason for accessing the voice recordings, however, the court may not order compliance.

Attempting to use this kind of technology data in court is not going away any time soon. As technology use increases and enters into every facet of our everyday lives, authorities will attempt to look for answers stored in the technology information cloud. You may think that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to using your personal technology devices and many might agree with you. It is important, however, to remember that what you think may be private could become very public under certain circumstances. As more people become aware that their smart speakers are recording them, the expectation of privacy continues to diminish and could make it easier for others to access in the event of any litigation. Make sure to protect your right to privacy as much as possible by taking some of the following precautions:

  • Turn off the default recording prompt on your smart speaker devices;
  • Investigate other privacy settings for shopping or financial transactions;
  • Put the highest privacy settings on all social media accounts or consider deleting them altogether; and
  • Remember that technology use can leave an invisible trail leading back to you—use it cautiously.

Privacy issues are complex and frequently come up in criminal cases. Tampa criminal defense attorney Mark G. Rodriguez makes it a priority to stay at the forefront of all developing legal issues that could affect clients and cases. In criminal cases, you don’t want to leave anything up to chance. Attorney Rodriguez is prepared to fight for you and rigorously defends you against the charges you face. Contact us today online or call 813-227-9642.