Expecting to see police everywhere in a modern day police state? Think again. Imagine the world, where a refrigerator, a washing machine, the radio, a smartphone, and the walls are all listening – all the time. That is the police state; and yes, the ‘walls’ will soon be listening too.
Take the Amazon Echo for example, which is an artificially intelligent ‘radio.’ During a recent incidence involving a murder case, Amazon was served a warrant for the recordings kept on their servers from the Echo device.
A murder in Arkansas may change the way people behave around smart devices, because Amazon may just be storing the data captured by the ‘always on device’ on their servers, for law enforcement investigations.
The Echo is supposedly only activated after a user says its wake, or activation, word. But once triggered, it records EVERYTHING said and then sends it to an Amazon cloud. A speech-recognition network ‘understands what was said’ and a response is sent back to the device, where it obeys a user’s commands.
However, according to CNET; Echo owners may be familiar with the companion app, which stores all requests to be listened to and cherished. But that’s not the only thing it does with those recordings. Amazon holds on to that data allegedly with the purpose of improving its voice assistant services.
That means that if you own an Echo, you are practically allowing Amazon to listen to ‘every conversation’ even in private.
The murder case involving an Echo that belongs to James Andrew Bates, who is facing a first-degree murder charge for allegedly strangling and drowning Victor Collins in Bates’ hot tub.
Amazon twice refused requests from Bentonville law enforcement. In a statement to Engadget, Amazon said: “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.”
However, it provided investigators with Bates’ account details, including purchases. Also, investigators were allegedly able to recover information from the speakers but did not specify what type.
Authorities are hoping that the Echo captured what took place the night of the murder. But, the Echo was not the only ‘smart device’ within the Bates household. In fact, Bates’ home was littered with an array of other, similar, devices such as Nest thermostat, a Honeywell alarm system, wireless weather monitoring in the backyard and WeMo devices for lighting. All of the aforementioned devices house similar ‘recording’ abilities.
In the new technological police state, police seem to have already relied on his smart meter that measures electricity and water usage. Police found that on the night of the murder, Bates used roughly 140 gallons of water between 1:00 am and 3:00 am. Investigators believe that this could be a sign that he had used water to wash away evidence of what happened on his hot tub patio, Engadget reported.
Regardless of what took place, in this case, the government can obtain any individuals personal private data from ‘cloud’ services. In fact, back in June, a draconian ruling came down from a court in the USA which states that users of third party software or devices – have no right to privacy, while using said devices.
The rather Orwellian ruling paints a police state picture of the near future; given the reality that Tech giants, want to place “smart devices” in our brains. Artificial Intelligence is set to become the “Third Hemisphere” within our brains, according to Felix Hausler, CEO of messaging interface Chatgrape.
All of these smart devices, always on, always recording, and always violating our right to privacy.