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Security & privacy

Amazon’s Alexa helps catch thief red handed

Smart speakers are becoming more and more popular. You can choose between Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot, Google Home, and Apple will be coming out with its Home Pod soon.

Each model comes with a virtual assistant that can help you accomplish all kinds of household tasks. Amazon’s Alexa can control your smart appliances, tell you how traffic will be on your morning commute, help you in the kitchen, and so much more. Now, it’s lending a hand to law enforcement to solve crime.

How Amazon’s Alexa helps solve crime

A 9-year-old Massachusetts boy is facing juvenile charges of breaking and entering and larceny. Police say he broke into a neighbor woman’s apartment and stole her iPhone, phone charger, unopened Amazon packages and some cash.

The interesting thing about this incident is, the victim was able to identify the unnamed burglar from a voice recording taken by her Amazon Echo. The recording was sent to her phone and she was able to recognize his voice.

She reported it to police, they then questioned the boy and he eventually confessed. He admitted to breaking into the apartment on three occasions to steal the items.

You might be wondering, does Alexa keep recordings of all interactions? The answer is a surprising yes.

If you have an Alexa supported gadget, just open the associated app and you can scroll through a list of all interactions with the virtual assistant. You will see text versions of everything you, or anyone else, has said to Alexa. There is also a “Play” button that lets you actually listen to the recording.

We’ve talked about this before, the fact that Alexa listening constantly might creep you out. If you don’t like the idea of everything you’ve ever said to Alexa being stored, you can delete the recordings. Click here to find out how.

In this case, having the recordings saved worked out well for the victim. Without them, the crook might have never been caught.

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