The Amazon Echo home assistants are capable of reciting the latest news and ordering you a transport, but can the famous "Alexa" also be helpful in cracking a case? According to Amazon, the Echo generally records mere snippets of conversation when triggered by the wake word, "Alexa." The question remains are those tiny bits of conversation useful and are they legally accessible?
In 2014, through a unanimous decision, The United States Supreme Court ruled that a search warrant must be obtained prior to engaging in the contents of a cellular phone. This decision helped start an update to outdated privacy rules, specific for technology, which the court said falls under the protection of privacy under the Fourth Amendment. One exception to this rule would be a major security threat. Recently, this ruling was cited in a South Florida appellate case in which a cell phone-that was unlocked by police-could be used as evidence.
In criminal cases defense attorneys are charged with protecting the rights of their clients. Among those rights is the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects, among other things, against unlawful search and seizures.
There is continuing controversy over constitutional infringement regarding breath tests without a warrant. The United States Supreme Court finds that being submitted to a blood test for alcohol abuse is unconstitutional while breath-tests without probable cause remain legal.
The Florida State Supreme Court is preparing to hear arguments about the state law which allows citizens to be prosecuted if they refuse a breathalyzer. Currently, Florida law allows police officers to arrest suspected drunk drivers if they refuse to take a breath test.