Are Your Smart Devices Betraying You?
WESTFIELD, N.J., Oct. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — When charged with a criminal defense, Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers vigorously defend clients’ First and Fourth Amendment rights, and believe that government access to personal recordings from Amazon Echo or Google Home devices is tantamount to ‘planting a bug’. Government access to these recordings must reach the high bar of probable cause that a crime may have been committed, as required by the Fourth Amendment. The firm aggressively defends individuals charged with complex federal and state crimes.
In this world of smart homes and smart devices, users are often unaware of the degree these conveniences track our whereabouts and conversations. Cell phones now track our every move, contain our internet search histories and record vast portions of our lives through photos, texts, and encrypted messages.
Baby monitors, smart kitchen devices like refrigerators, and home devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home are always on and potentially recording or transmitting.
You can ask Alexa to shop for you, answer questions, make dinner reservations, and all the while you’re being recorded and streamed into Alexa’s memory, stored in the cloud. These devices have the potential to record background sounds and voices even when they are in sleep mode and not being asked to perform a task. With these types of smart devices, we may have unwittingly allowed unfettered access to every aspect of our lives.
Already, police have attempted to obtain these types of recordings in a criminal case. In 2015 in Bentonville, Arkansas, the police were investigating the suspected murder of a person over a friend’s house. The homeowner claimed to be asleep when the friend supposedly drowned in the hot tub. Using modern technology as an investigative tool, the police reviewed the home owner’s cell phone records and discovered usage while the owner claimed to be asleep. They also examined the owner’s water bill and discovered increased usage around the time of the incident, leading them to believe that the homeowner had washed away evidence of the crime. And lastly, they tried to obtain information, including potential recordings, of the owner’s Amazon Echo device by issuing a search warrant to Amazon.
Amazon fought the warrant on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment. The company said its device contains every aspect of the individual’s life and therefore law enforcement should not be allowed to have access to it. Before the court could decide this novel issue, the homeowner consented to the material being turned over.
Similar cases are sure to follow as these devices become commonplace. Authorities’ access to devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home would bypass the very high legal bar required before law enforcement is granted the right to “plant a bug” in a suspect’s home.
Call Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers to discuss criminal charges at 908.301.9001 at the NJ office and 212.755.3300 at the NYC office, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers
The Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers fight for people who are targeted by the U.S. government in an investigation, arrest or indictment. Since 1997, the Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers’ practice in White-Collar Criminal Defense and Appellate cases has defended clients in some of the biggest cases in the country. Contact Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers at www.stahlesq.com or 908-301-9001 for help with this matter or for other criminal defense legal issues.
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