Amazon resists request for Echo data in murder case

Amazon is resisting an effort by prosecutors in the US to obtain potential recordings from a murder suspect's Amazon Echo smart speaker.

It said authorities have not established that their investigation is more important than a customer's privacy rights.

The issue comes in the investigation into the death of Victor Collins, who was found floating face up in a hot tub at a friend's home in Bentonville, Arkansas, in November 2015.

The friend, James Andrew Bates, has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder.

Benton County prosecutors asked a court to force Amazon to provide data that Bates's Echo may have collected.

Echo devices "listen" for a user's voice and respond to commands.

In a response filed on Friday, Amazon said prosecutors had not established the need for the company to violate its customers' constitutional rights.

The firm said prosecutors must prove the information is not available elsewhere.

Amazon also wants the court to review the recordings before turning them over to prosecutors to ensure they are actually relevant to the case.

"Given the important First Amendment and privacy implications at stake, the warrant should be quashed unless the Court finds that the State has met its heightened burden for compelled production of such materials," Amazon said in the court documents.

The company had previously spoken about prosecutors' request for the information in more general terms, but this is Amazon's first formal legal response to the subpoena for audio recordings and transcripts from the night of Mr Collins's death.

"Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course," the company said in a statement.

AP


More in this Section

Watch: Hundreds of Zenit St Petersburg fans welcome team bus with flare salute

Hillsborough pitch like ‘battleground’ after crush, victim’s mother tells court

Judge to consider lifting ban on naming 16-year-old killer of Alesha MacPhail

Vatican summit on sex abuse focuses on accountability


Lifestyle

Live music review: Chvrches play a blinder at the Olympia

7 ways to manage toddler tantrums, according to an expert

The unlikely leading man: Viggo Mortensen earned his Oscar nomination by being everything a movie star isn’t

Ask Audrey: 'I'm pretending to be from Monkstown, but I'm really just a wan from Turners Cross'

More From The Irish Examiner