In Depth

Amazon refuses to release Alexa data in murder trial

Revealing files from the voice control system would violate its First Amendment rights, argues internet giant

Amazon is continuing to fight efforts to force it to hand over personal information obtained by its Alexa voice control system for a US murder trial.

The internet giant is contesting a search warrant issued in the case against James Bates, who is accused of killing former Georgia police officer Victor Collins in 2015, Forbes reports.

Police say information stored on Bates's Amazon Echo wireless speaker, which uses the Alexa service, could be useful in their investigation.

However, Amazon argues that Alexa has First Amendment rights as the system contains "a multitude of data" that cannot be isolated to one single event. 

It also says the warrant will "inevitably chill users from exercising their First Amendment rights to seek and receive information and expressive content in the privacy of their own home". 

This isn't the first case of a company protecting its user data after a warrant has been issued – last year, Apple refused an FBI request to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter, says Engadget.                                      

Opening an access door could have comprised "the security of every iPhone moving forward", adds the site, as the FBI had already locked itself out of the device by attempting to change the iPhone's password. 

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