Are your home electronics spying on you?
FORT MYERS, Fla. Some household electronics may act as spies that gather information that can be used against you.
Amazon Echo and Google Home keep audio recordings in iCloud when they are activated. These devices, including cellphones, can store data that can be used in court, according to Fort Myers cybersecurity expert Greg Scasney.
That’s happening in an Arkansas murder case. The defendant, James Bates, is accused of murdering a friend who was found dead in his hot tub following a night of drinking, investigators said. Bates claimed he went to sleep and had no idea what happened.
Now prosecutors are demanding Amazon hand over the audio recordings from Bates’ Amazon Echo. Amazon has refused.
“It scares me that our criminal system is coming down to this technology that is supposed to help our daily lives,” said Kimberly Webber, Bates’ attorney.
But Leland Garvin, a trial attorney for the Fort Myers-based Garvin Law Firm, says otherwise.
“Let’s say if there is a murder or some bad act occurs and you’ve got a nest thermostat and a Wifi hot water heater and a Google Home or Amazon product,” Garvin said. “You could combine all these things, and it could be very telling of either your whereabouts or your activities for a certain period of time.”
Spencer Rigsby is an active Naples stay-at-home wife and mother of a 3-year-old girl, as well as an avid Amazon Echo user.
“You think you are being careful, but you never really know until it comes up on the news,” Spencer said.