back to article Alexa, cough up those always-on Echo audio recordings, says double-murder trial judge

A US judge has ordered Amazon to hand over any recordings made by its Echo digital assistant at a house where two women were murdered last year. Prosecutors believe that Alexa running on the Echo may be a key witness in the case against Timothy Verrill, 34, who stands accused of the second-degree murder of Christine Sullivan, …

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Joke

Re: People with these web enabled assistants....

I would never buy a phone that i can't remove the battery from

just put it under your tinfoil hat , then it cant report back .....

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of course amazon will refuse. There is no wake word, everything is transmitted back to the server & used for future ad revenue. Anyone dumb enough to believe otherwise... I've a range of great bridges to sell you! Mind you, we'll never know the truth here - how hard is it to just filter recordings where the word WAS used prior?

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There is no wake word, everything is transmitted back to the server & used for future ad revenue.

The Echo isn't magical, it can't send data back to Amazon by osmosis or something. It has to send data via network connections, whether wireless or hardline.

Many people have put network sniffers on the networks with these devices and done packet captures. These have all shown a distinct lack of data transmission from the device while holding conversations next to the device unless it is activated with a keyword/manual activation.

Some of these tests have run for days - just in case it was batching up several hours/days worth of data and sending it out at a later time. And these have also shown no large data communications that could have transmitted environmental recordings to Amazon.

Of course, this doesn't mean that couldn't happen, or that there isn't some facility to specifically enable/disable environmental recording on targeted devices to use them like a bug, or that specific devices won't get hacked by third parties who use it as a bug.

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Human voice can be encoded using Codec 2 at 450 bits/s and still be understandable. So an hours conversation would be 200KB of data. Does anyone know how large the Amazon Echo's heartbeats are?

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From various articles I've read of people doing these network sniffing tests, over an entire day, an Echo that hasn't had any keyword activations sends approximately 2MB for the heartbeats, checking for updates, etc.

And that is a consistent 2MB/day, no matter how much background conversation occur around it.

Since I'll never have one of these, no matter what Amazon or security experts say, I can't test it myself.

Also note that, since the point of any theoretical recording of the conversations would be to use it to assist voice-recognition training and AI training, such a low quality stream for that general training probably wouldn't be very useful. Sure, some low quality stuff you'd want to test that your training can work with low quality audio as well would be wanted, but this'd be a pretty small subset of the overall training data you'd want to collect.

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I've said this before - people are more willing to believe the evil corporate nightmarish vision, than the idea that these companies - while indeed using data WE VOLUNTARILY­² GIVE to these companies - are just listening to everything we do and say, and that these listening devices are exactly the same as eavesdropping bugs favoured in spy movies - despite the overwhelming proof this just isn't the case.

I'm not suggesting these companies then get a free ride. But the amount of hyperbole and hysteria I read about these things are only based upon more hyperbole and hysteria which itself is based on nothing substantive.

²-Except Facebook. Because they don't always get our permission...

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"Except Facebook. Because they don't always get our permission..."

And Google. And Microsoft.

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Privacy Policy

I don't own any of these assistants, but I know that if you ask Alexa about Amazon's Privacy Policy it won't answer you.

I told this to someone on a true crime group on Facebook, and they said they just asked Google's thingymebob what Amazon's Privacy Policy was, and apparently it responded "They don't have any".

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These devices and I mean all of them are unreliable witnesses. The information they record is taken out of context and cannot identify the defendant visually. As an example I went to the coast for a day and started getting message from my Android phone saying "How was your visit to...". More and more came through about stores I did not enter. Having been hacked off the final message "How was your visit to the pier " I did not go to the pier but I did walk underneath one. Android has no concept of elevation Amazon and the rest are acutely aware not for privacy but that this technology is only good for marketing and does it badly to boot. A good lawyer will blow this evidence out of the court room

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@ OP andAC

"Amazon hasn't promised to hand over any recordings yet just, despite this latest New Hampshire court order." Yet just??

"I finaly find out that it was the sound from the TV set or from a you tube video."

I remember complaints about a rogue app that kept the mic open and listening out for tv, radio and youtube adds in order to correlate listener/viewer data with handset owner info. I guess if they can add all the data collected on a smartphone with your computer browsing history and cookie data plus cable/satellite subscription / viewing habits you would make a pretty valuable advert target.

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I can see why they really want this evidence, a lot of what they have on the guy can be explained away.

"he thought the other victim, Jenna Pellegrini, was a police informant."

He believed the police were onto his drug trafficking and was trying to figure out how they found out, the police also haven't denied that she was an informant, so his suspicion might not have been unreasonable.

"surveillance cameras caught Verrill arriving at the house and trying to cover up the lenses of three surveillance cameras at the property before shutting the system down."

He believed the police were onto his drug trafficking and realized the CCTV cameras could see the entrance to the property.

"Police also have evidence that he bought clean-up products from a Walmart"

He believed the police were onto his drug trafficking and bought some cleaning products to try and destroy evidence.

"went to see a priest"

He was afraid of being sent to a federal pound-me-in-the-arse prison and went to talk to somebody.

"and twice visited a local hospital"

He tried to score some opioids of a doctor.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Went to see a priest ?

Presumably the authorities have asked for a transcript of that session.

How's that going ?

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MAF

Latest advice

If you think that you're about to be murdered - is to shout (loudly) Ok Google, Alexa, Cortana - record this?

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Re: Latest advice

Or "call the police"

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Re: Latest advice

"Release the man-eating tiger!"

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