Speak up, robot: Cops wants data from Amazon Echo device for murder case

Who’s watching me?

The Internet of Things, as our rapidly growing collection of connected devices is called, entered a new era of sorts recently when detectives in an Arkansas murder case sought a search warrant to view… or hear… the content of commands or sounds recorded by an Amazon Echo device. The case dates back to 2015 but the gist of the matter is that the home where the murder took place was littered with I-o-T devices that may hold clues.

Detectives say the Echo was streaming music at the time of the murder, and they want to know if the Echo recorded any sounds during what appears to be a struggle. Echo devices are “always listening,” but Amazon says they only record small bits of commands received after hearing a “wake word,” which by default for an Echo device is “Alexa,” the name of the A.I. agent used to execute requests. Detectives are also looking at other smart devices in the home.

The broader implication here is that this new generation of smart home assistants, whether it be an Echo, your phone, computer, security system, thermostat or whatever, may now be forced to rat you or someone else out in a legal matter. How the legal system and device makers will respond to this new wrinkle remains to be seen. So far, Amazon is refusing to release the data while its legal team looks at options; Suffice to say it’s a complicated new problem.

Kilts not included

The Tesla battery “gigafactory” is coming along nicely if a new drone video is any indication, and Elon Musk is going to need all those batteries real soon if his next car, the second-gen convertible Roadster sports model, will live up to the performance rumors now swirling around. How fast will it be? According to a Tesla press release, Elon has another gear beyond even the Model S’s Performance variant’s Ludicrous Speed: it’s called Maximum Plaid.

See if you can guess Elon Musk’s favorite movie. Uh huh. Anyway, with the Model S already edging in on hypercar acceleration speeds while in Ludicrous mode, the new Roadster convertible, which is likely a clean-sheet design, and not based on the Lotus platform of the original Roadster. It might be a while before we get the performance numbers, but we’d wager a sub-3-second 0-60 time is in the cards.

Carrie Fisher, 1956-2016

By now of course, you’ve heard that Carrie Fisher, who played the iconic Princess Leia in Star Wars, passed away yesterday at the age of 60 after falling ill on a transcontinental flight the week previous. For a year filled with celebrity deaths ranging from David Bowie to Muhammad Ali to Prince to Gene Wilder, Fisher’s death was yet another gut punch in a year full of gut punches, and we’ll miss her very much.

However, if there is any good news in the bad news, it’s that Fisher did complete filming her parts for the next entry in the Star Wars canon, known at this point just as “Episode VIII.” What that role consists of in the next movie isn’t public yet, but Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow now has a problem on his hands, presumably one that can be dealt with ahead of production as that movie is still in scripting stages.

However it turns out, it’s going to be tough seeing a Star Wars movie without our tough and charismatic Princess, who was one of the first of a new wave of female movie heroes who were about much more than just being a pretty face, although she was awfully good at that as well. Read more on Fisher’s career and accomplishments here. Rest in peace, Ms. Fisher.

Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

J.J. Abrams wraps production on Star Wars: Episode IX with a heartfelt message

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has wrapped production on Star Wars: Episode IX, which he directed and co-wrote. Here's everything we know about the movie before it premieres in December 2019.
Digital Trends Live

Original ‘Shark Tank’ star Kevin Harrington on what he loves about CES

Broadcasting from CES, the hosts of Digital Trends Live had a chance to talk to entrepreneur and original Shark Tank star Kevin Harrington about his love of trade shows and how he invests.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Highlights from day 2 of CES 2019 outline future of tech

In our second day of coverage for the annual tech conference in Las Vegas, Greg Nibler and Maude Garrett welcomed guests from industry leaders like Verizon, Intel, and Microsoft and we went out on the floor to discover new tech.
Digital Trends Live

TEST

  dsfsadfas
Digital Trends Live

On the last day of CES, Digital Trends Live hands out awards and more

On the third and final day of CES, the annual tech trade show in Las Vegas, the Digital Trends Live team interviewed guests, dissected all the trends on display at the show, and gave awards to the very best tech.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: New Motorola flip phone, ads in space, smart umbrella

On this episode of Digital Trends Live we discussed trending headlines like foldable smartphones and advertising in space. We also sat down with Caleb Denison and Ronan Glon to talk about the world of tech post CES 2019.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Netflix price hike, Starsona’s celeb connections, and more

On episode 48 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler, Adrien Warner, and Drew Prindle explored the tech news of the day, including Netflix’s controversial price hike, and an interview with Digital Domain’s Darren Hendler.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: The dark age of streaming, booze delivery, and more

On the latest episode of Digital Trends Live, DT's daily morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Nicole Raney explored the biggest news from the tech world. On this week's episode: A massive data breach, the dark age of streaming, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Oscar nominations, the future of blockchain, and more

From Oscar nominations, to the latest Spotify and Uber features, there was a lot to discuss on this episode of Digital Trends Live. Journalist Rachel Wolfson also joined the show to talk about the future of cryptocurrency.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Double-folding phones, the best gaming laptops, and more

AirPod rumors and the latest news about foldable phones highlight Wednesday's episode of Digital Trends Live. We also sat down with Calvin Iverson to talk about how to travel on a budget and how millennials are changing the travel industry.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon Scout, Soraya Darabi, and Joey Ricard

On episode 53 of Digital Trends Live, DT's live morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Drew Prindle discussed the latest in tech news, including Amazon's new delivery drone, CRISPR babies, and more.