You have the right to remain silent — but your smart devices might not.

Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot are in millions of homes now, with holiday sales more than quadrupling from 2015. Always listening for its wake word, the breakthrough smart speakers boast seven microphones waiting to take and record your commands.

Now, Arkansas police are hoping an Echo found at a murder scene in Bentonville can aid their investigation.

First reported by The Information, investigators filed search warrants to Amazon, requesting any recordings between November 21 and November 22, 2015, from James A. Bates, who was charged with murder after a man was strangled in a hot tub.

While investigating, police noticed the Echo in the kitchen and pointed out that the music playing in the home could have been voice activated through the device. While the Echo records only after hearing the wake word, police are hoping that ambient noise or background chatter could have accidentally triggered the device, leading to some more clues.

Amazon stores all the voice recordings on its servers, in the hopes of using the data to improve its voice assistant services. While you can delete your personal voice data, there’s still no way to prevent any recordings from being saved on a server.

[...]

Even without Amazon’s help, police may be able to crack into the Echo, according to the warrant. Officers believe they can tap into the hardware on the smart speakers, which could “potentially include time stamps, audio files or other data.”

The investigation has focused on other smart devices as well. Officers seized Bates’ phone but were unable to break through his password, which only served to delay the investigation.

”Our agency now has the ability to utilize data extraction methods that negate the need for passcodes and efforts to search Victor and Bates’ devices will continue upon issuance of this warrant.”

Police also found a Nest thermostat, a Honeywell alarm system, wireless weather monitoring in the backyard and WeMo devices for lighting at the smart home crime scene.

Ultimately, it might have been information from a smart meter that proved to be the most useful. With every home in Bentonville hooked up to a smart meter that measures hourly electricity and water usage, police looked at the data and noticed Bates used an “excessive amount of water” during the alleged drowning.
Source: https://www.cnet.com/uk/news/police-reques...

Tim Holt and Katina Michael. "Dashcams Used to Gather Evidence of Adverse Driver Behaviour: Police Encourage Reporting by Citizens" ABC South East NSW Radio: Mornings with Tim Holt Jan. 2015.

A great summation of uberveillance in relation to FitBit-style trackers by Richard Chirgwin of The Register. Article here 

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"The father of a man fatally shot by police at an Ohio Wal-Mart says a phone call in which he heard his son's dying breaths keeps replaying in his head.

John Crawford III, was shot August 5, in a Wal-Mart. A 911 caller told police that Crawford III was waving a weapon that turned out to be an air rifle.

Officers have said Crawford III was shot when he didn't respond to orders to put the gun down.

His father, John Crawford Jr, talked about the last day of son's life to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Crawford family and their attorney have said that a section of store surveillance video they saw shows Crawford III holding the air rifle and talking on his mobile phone.

The family has requested public release of the store video. But Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has refused to release it while the investigation is continuing."

More here

"A man walks through Wal-Mart, holding something to his ear as he passes a gun case.

He leans toward a shelf and steps back into view, now holding a long, dark object — a gun? — as he walks past customers, who show no obvious reaction.

Eight minutes later, surveillance video from a different angle shows him farther away.

Suddenly he drops the object and crumples to the floor. Two more people come into view, walking toward him with firearms drawn.

Was it a justified fatal shooting by police or an unreasonable use of force? Does the soundless video offer enough information to answer that question?

In the Wal-Mart case and others, cameras meant to help catch bad guys or document police actions are drawing attention for capturing officers using force.

The public circulation of those images increases transparency, but it also adds the risk of viewers rushing to judgment based on only part of the story.

"You might see a video and think that because you're seeing an actual sort of account of what happened, you know the whole story.

And it's very rare that a video is actually going to be able to tell the whole story," said Ric Simmons, an Ohio State University professor of criminal law.

At that Wal-Mart in Beavercreek, outside Dayton, 22-year-old John Crawford III was talking on a cellphone and picked up an air rifle on August 5.

A 911 caller reported seeing someone waving a gun and pointing it at people. Police said Crawford was shot when he didn't respond to officers' orders to drop the weapon, something the video can't prove because there's no audio.

Crawford's relatives and their attorneys say he was "shot on sight" with no chance to respond and that the video proves the shooting was unreasonable.

A grand jury concluded it was justified. A federal investigation is pending.

Sometimes a video instantly offers incriminating evidence. In South Carolina this month, a state trooper was fired and charged with assault after his dashboard video, with audio, showed an unarmed driver being shot in the hip."

Source here

This is what it might be like living in an uberveillance society.

New York Times, 2004

New York Times, 2004

Tit for tat. Citizens turn camera on police; so police respond by turning cameras on society. Who wins? What next? Memory implants? 

Video can lie because context can be missing- let us not fool ourselves... discussion on wearables as applied to a multitude of applications is the topic of the next IEEE Technology and Society Magazine (June 2014) after this program in 2013. Check out http://sites.ieee.org/istas-2013

Interested readers might also like to look at this pioneering summary from the Point of View Technologies in Law Enforcement Workshop (2012) http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/249/ in addition to the Human Rights and Policing Conference (2013) http://www.ceps.edu.au/events/2013-ceps-human-rights-and-policing-conference/technology-and-forensic-science which featured the work of Mick Keelty et al. 

Source: http://www.defencesystemsaustralia.com.au/ProductsandServices/RevealRS3.aspx

Source: http://www.defencesystemsaustralia.com.au/ProductsandServices/RevealRS3.aspx

New story here.

"Some officers have already paid for their own miniature cameras, raising concerns about the storage of data on personal computers.

The Keelty Review into the QPS last year flagged privacy issues around the storage of police recordings on home computers. It recommended investigating a solution to storing “big data”.

The camera revelation came after The Courier-Mail won a more than 12-month Right to Information battle to overturn a police decision to keep secret the results of a trial of cameras on Tasers.

It was released after the Information Commissioner overturned the QPS’s decision.

The 2011 review found Taser Cams were operationally ineffective, but recommended investigating body-worn cameras to record all use-of-force incidents after an extension of the trial found the body cameras superior in all areas.

The release of the report comes as the police Ethical Standards Command prepares to interview a Logan woman as part of an investigation into how she lost her eye after being Tasered in February.

Police are unable to rely on footage of the incident as Queensland’s 1000-plus Tasers do not have cameras and police are not issued body-worn video cameras.

An analysis of police use-of-force reports obtained under RTI for 2012 found that of the 63 people stunned by Tasers that year, only five were caught on CCTV.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said the review findings supported his repeated calls for the QPS to issue body-worn cameras.

“Body-worn cameras are the modern equivalent of the police notebook and should be compulsory equipment for all police,” Mr Leavers said."

Thanks anthropunk!

Palo Alto police cruisers are now equipped with new video systems, including five cameras instead of a previous two. The above camera is on the exterior of a cruiser. Courtesy Palo Alto Police Department. Source: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2014/03/20/palo-alto-police-embrace-new-recording-technology

Palo Alto police cruisers are now equipped with new video systems, including five cameras instead of a previous two. The above camera is on the exterior of a cruiser. Courtesy Palo Alto Police Department. Source: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2014/03/20/palo-alto-police-embrace-new-recording-technology

Palo Alto police cruisers are now equipped with new video systems, including five cameras instead of a previous two. Courtesy Palo Alto Police Department.

Palo Alto police cruisers are now equipped with new video systems, including five cameras instead of a previous two. Courtesy Palo Alto Police Department.

"The Palo Alto Police Department has recently installed new video systems on dozens of cruisers, replacing the recording systems that were first installed on police vehicles in 2006. In addition to the usual enhancements one can expect with video upgrades -- high-definition video and high-fidelity audio -- the new recording systems have an additional feature: the ability to record and review what happened before an incident even occurs.

Unlike the previously used Mobile In-Car Video System, which included two cameras on the cruiser, the new systems include five. This means new cameras on the cruisers' sides and rearview mirrors, according a report from the police department.

"We've already had a few cases where actions of our officers that would not have been captured on the old system were completely captured on the new one, which allowed us to have a clear view of what went on," said Lt. Zach Perron, the department's public information manager. "That's exactly what we want to have."

The improvement in audio quality is also significant, he said. Audio recordings in the new systems have far more range and can work "through objects," Perron said."

Read more here.

"Called the Fly6, it is a combination video camera and flashing rear light that promises to make riders more visible while recording what happens behind them. It is fitted to the bike's seat post.

The inventors say it could also help to determine who is responsible when a motor vehicle hits a bicycle from behind – one of the most common causes of serious injury or death among cyclists."

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