New technology has devices listening to us more than ever.
Amazon Echo, Amazon Dot, Google Home and iPhone's Siri are among the new devices and technologies that offer convenience in our everyday lives. But the advances in technology have raised questions about when those devices are recording, and who should have access to the recordings.
The virtual assistants work by listening for a "wake" word. For the Echo, the word is "Alexa." For Google Home, it's "Google," and for the iPhone it's "Hey Siri." After detecting the wake word, the device records the interaction. As those recordings build up, the device is supposed to become more efficient.
"Sometimes it'll kind of wake up, even when I haven't said the word. But then, you know, I just ignore her. It's a little bit creepy. I don't think it's so creepy that I would get rid of it," said Lauren Chadwell, who uses the Amazon Echo Dot.
The recordings on the devices prompted a Benton County, Arkansas, prosecutor to request a search warrant. Prosecutor Nathan Smith has requested the recordings from the Echo belonging to a suspect accused of murder. Amazon has not complied.
In a statement, the company said: "Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course."
"As society and technology evolves, the way police investigate crime has to evolve as well. So clearly technology and technology searches of devices people have will become important," said Smith.
Smith said he believes it's dangerous to create areas where criminals are immune from search warrants. Ernesto Falcon of the Electronic Frontier Foundation disagrees.
"The fact of the matter is, having a device interconnected and innovative shouldn't mean you've ceded your privacy rights to the federal government in exchange for that," said Falcon.
There are ways to stop your device from listening. For the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot or the Google Home, hit the "mute" button or unplug the device.
For iPhones, turn off all Siri functions.
You can also manage what information is being stored on the Amazon Echo, both by using the Echo App and by logging into your account online. Google Home and Siri also have options that allow a user to delete activity.
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