Everyone has a right to privacy, but as the world becomes ever more connected, this idea is fading to a degree. As more of our devices become connected through the Internet of Things, more of our data, habits or preferences become known to mega-corporations like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) or Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). Even though privacy might be more of a thing of the past, this monitoring might be able to save lives.
However, in this case one of these mega-corporations is contributing evidence to a murder case. Amazon recently was fighting a subpoena in an Arkansas murder case but now has dropped the fight after the defendant said that he wouldn’t mind if the Amazon Echo data was shared with the court.
Amazon had previously fought this on the grounds of its customers’ privacy rights.
The Amazon Echo smart speaker listens to users and monitors for key words. The key point is that it listens, and the recording may contain evidence that damns or absolves the defendant.
In the case, James Andrew Bates has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Victor Collins, who was found dead in a hot tub at Bates’ home in November 2015. In paperwork filed Monday, Bates said Amazon could share the information.
More devices are listening in on our daily lives to understand our habits or preferences to make life easier. In the future we might expect more cases like this, where a key witness could be a refrigerator that oversaw a murder or something along those lines.
Both Apple and Alphabet offer similar services to the Amazon Echo, in Siri and OK Google.
Shares of Amazon were trading at $844.82 on Tuesday. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $538.58 to $860.86 and a consensus analyst price target of $938.38.
Alphabet shares traded at $850.32, with a consensus price target of $988.95 and a 52-week range of $672.66 to $867.00.
Apple was last seen at $139.31 per share. The consensus price target is $143.25, and the 52-week range is $89.47 to $140.28.