by Max Brantley
Amazon has not sent any recordings to the officers but did provide Bates' account information to authorities, according to court documents. The retailer giant said it doesn't release customer information without a "valid and binding legal demand."KFSM got this quote from the suspect's attorney, Kimberly Weber:
"Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course," the company said in a statement.
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.
... 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.
Officers have also seized an iPhone 6S, a Macbook Pro, a PlayStation 4 and three tablets in the investigation.
"I've got an innocent client, so why are they attempting to get this information, which will really have no effect on our case?" she said. "What they are trying to do is rather novel, but it's a deep invasion of privacy."
Weber said technology is not infallible and police are relying on it too heavily.
"Should things be said out of context? That scares me," she said. "And it scares me that our criminal system is coming down to this technology, which is supposed to help our daily lives and now it's being used against us."