There are many devices made to simplify our lives. Need to change the channel on your television without getting up? Your phone can do that. Want to look up your favorite recipe but left your phone on the counter? Just ask Siri or Alexa.
The uses of these devices are seemingly endless. In many cases, part of the ability of these devices to respond promptly to our demands requires the ability to record information. This is true with devices like the Amazon Echo. The devices record information in the area, always waiting for an activation or "wake word." These recordings are beginning to crop up in court cases. The questions courts are asked to answer involve things like should these recordings be allowed as evidence? Should Amazon be required to release this information?
These questions are currently under consideration in a case out of Arkansas. The case is a criminal case involving murder, but the implications could reach into other areas of the law, including family law matters like divorce.
What does this mean for divorce proceedings?
If this case supports the contention that evidence from these devices should be allowed in court, it could result in allowing the same type of evidence in all cases - including divorce.
This could result in the presence of recordings for evidence of a future ex having conversations about finances or any other contentious issue.
In the case noted above, Amazon refuses to release the recordings citing privacy rights of the client. The device is constantly listening for what is referred to as the "wake word." This word, generally "Alexa" or "Amazon," activates the device. The recordings are stored remotely and can be viewed over time.
The prosecutor has demanded Amazon release this information, but the technology company has refused.
The future of evidence from smart home devices is not yet known, but experts with CNN predict this type of evidenced will be allowed in court in the near future.