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Time has a story about a murder case in Bentonville, Arkansas, in which authorities are using evidence "gleaned not only from the crime scene but from an array of Internet-connected devices."

For example, the victim was drowned, and a "smart" utility meter was able to establish that a large amount of water was used at the murder scene during the window when the crime was committed. A smart phone established that the suspect was making phone calls at a time when he said he was asleep. And audio files from an Echo may provide insights into what was happening in the home when the murder was committed.

"The case, which goes to trial in July, marks the first time ever that data recorded by an Echo, or any other artificial intelligence--powered device, like Google's Home or Samsung's smart TV, will be submitted as evidence in court," Times writes. "The move has alarmed tech analysts and privacy advocates nationwide. The issue is not only that these new devices are equipped with so-called smart microphones that, unless manually disabled, are always on, quietly listening for a 'wake word,' like 'Alexa' or 'Hey, Siri.' It's also that these now ubiquitous microphones live in our most intimate spaces: in our living rooms and kitchens, on our bedside tables. In a world in which these personal assistants are always listening for our voices and recording our requests, have we given up on any expectation of privacy within our own homes?"

You can read the entire, fascinating story here.
KC's View:
To be clear, we don't exactly know what is on the audio files; Time makes the point that police may only know what song was playing when the murder was committed. (If the song is Eminem's "Kill You," though, just the music choice may offer some insight.)

I've always been told that while my Echo is listening, it isn't recording anything other that our specific interactions. If this is accurate, and all it can do is tell the police when someone asks for instructions about, say, how to dismember a body, I'm okay with that. (If someone Googled that same subject, the police can figure that out, too.)

Is this a little creepy? Sure, potentially. But I find myself relatively unconcerned about it, even while being fascinated by the ethical implications.