Smart home companies are quick to reassure customers that their devices aren't listening in to every word you say but we're seeing more and more dramatic stories of tech intervening and acting as a witness.
Last week, a smart home speaker - first reported to be a Google Home but now only known as a "smart home device" - called 911 from a house in Tijeras, New Mexico. What apparently triggered the call was Edward Barros asking his girlfriend, who was hurt in the altercation and alleges he was threatening her with a gun, "Did you call the sheriffs?"
This phrase lead the smart home speaker, which was connected to surround sound speakers, to call the police. Deputies from the sheriff's department, negotiators and a SWAT team then arrived on the scene, checked if the woman needed to go to hospital (she didn't) and Barros was arrested. It's not clear whether this was a device without a command word or if the 'request' to call the police was able to override this.
County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III told ABC: "The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life. This amazing technology definitely helped save a mother and her child [who was in the house] from a very violent situation."
This isn't the first time smart home speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home have been mixed up in trials. Professor Jeremy Watson, an Internet of Things expert at UCL, recently told us: "My feeling is that it will become perfectly legitimate for agencies like the FBI or [British] Home Office to have access to this data."
Source: ABC News