Earlier this week we wrote about what Amazon is recording and storing for their use when you talk to Alexa on your Amazon Echo device. We also told you how to delete those recordings. Today we’re going to give you some real-life examples of how such recordings are being used in criminal proceedings. And of course the same can be true for Google Home recordings, Fitbit tracking, and any other smart device that tracks your movements or records your voice (or both).
For more than four years we have been telling you that law enforcement can get to any electronic communications you have stored for more than 180 days in the cloud (and that ‘cloud’ is just a fancy word for “somebody else’s computer”). This is because the Electronics Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) only requires a subpoena in order for a governmental agency to get at those communications records that you have stored on that third-party server – they do not need a warrant.
Update: We have just learned that Senator Leahy has withdrawn his support for the amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). He received resounding criticism from many groups and private citizens who felt that the revisions are unconstitutional and a gross invasion of privacy. In a series of tweets, below, Senator Leahy said that he did not support the bill amendments, and seems to deny that he ever did.
With the recent decision in the Fricosu case, ruling that one can be forced to provide the password to your encrypted hard drive, you may be thinking it is better to store things “in the cloud”. In fact, it can be worse, as cloud storage currently requires no warrant for law enforcement to access any of your data which has been stored in the cloud for at least 180 days.