Bentonville police issues warrant to Amazon, asks company to hand over data from Echo

Bentonville police issues warrant to Amazon, asks company to hand over data from Echo

In a development first reported in The Information, online retail giant Amazon has been issued a warrant by police authorities in Bentonville, Arkansas, for handing over data – audio or records – from one of its Echo devices to help with a murder case.

The move by the police in Bentonville indicates that the officials apparently want to know whether some information can be gathered from an Echo device to prosecute a suspected murderer, James Andrew Bates.

The warrant issued to Amazon seeks the handing over of audio or records from an Echo device owned by Bates, who was charged with first-degree murder in November 2015.

Bates was charged with first-degree murder for the death of Victor Collins, who the authorities have found strangled and drowned in Bates’ hot tub. Bates is set to go to trial for Collins’ murder in 2017.

According to The Information’s report, Bates has a number of Internet-connected devices – including an Amazon Echo, a Honeywell alarm system, and a Nest thermostat – in his home. However, the Echo – which has been confiscated by the police as a material evidence – could possibly be the key witness in the case because, as per police records, the Echo could have controlled the streaming music which – with the help of Echo’s virtual assistant Alexa – was being wirelessly transmitted on the night of the murder.

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