“The Role of Home Devices in Police Investigations”

If a smart speaker captures the audio of criminal activity, can that recording be used as evidence in a courtroom?

Law enforcement across the country has tried to argue that these smart speaker recordings are valuable pieces of evidence in a case. However, many tech companies have pushed back against warrants for data, citing privacy concerns.

“This ongoing resistance from tech companies could be a continual conflict between government and law enforcement agencies seeking access to essential data that can be used as evidence in criminal cases, and corporate entities focused on the privacy of their customers,” Moser states.

There have been a few recent cases where law enforcement was able to get ahold of smart speaker recordings and data from wearable technology and use it as evidence in trial. For example, Richard Dabate was on trial for the murder of his wife, Connie, after her Fitbit showed that she was alive in their home long after Richard claimed his wife had already been killed by intruders.

“In practice, courts so far seem to be favoring access and finding probable cause to search these tiny data hubs but if tech companies continue to resist the government, the smart device debate could make its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Moser concludes.

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