Amazon has argued that the voice of Alexa, the artificial intelligence assistant used in its range of Echo speakers, has First Amendment rights.
The company is fighting an order to hand over recordings from an Amazon Echo used by James Andrew Bates, who is on trial for allegedly murdering his friend Victor Collins in Arkansas in November 2015.
Amazon has filed a 90-page document, which is available to read on Forbes, contesting the warrant demanding the audio covering the 48-hour period from 21-22 November 2015.
The firm has handed over subscriber information and purchase history, but claims that both Echo users’ voice commands and Alexa’s responses are protected as free speech.
“Once the Echo device detects the wake word, the Alexa Voice Service endeavors to respond to any ensuing voice communications detected in the user’s home,” the document reads.
“Accordingly, searching Alexa’s recordings is not the same as searching a drawer, a pocket, or a glove compartment. Like cell phones, such modern ‘smart’ electronic devices contain a multitude of data that can ‘reveal much more in combination than any isolated record,’ allowing those with access to it to reconstruct ‘[t]he sum of an individual’s private life.’”