What Are Your Privacy Rights with Amazon Echo and Google Home?


For years, police and lawyers have been using items found in your home, pursuant to probable cause and a valid court issued search warrant, as admissible evidence in court. To think that for some reason, information residing on your Amazon Echo or Google Home is excluded from this general rule is naive.

Just like before, your right to privacy, First Amendment Rights of free speech, and your protection against unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment of our US Constitution will continue to exist. And just like before, the rules protecting your rights and requiring lawyers to lay a proper foundation and authentication before using such evidence in a court of law will also continue to protect your rights.

However, if sufficient grounds exist, what you asked Echo or Home, and what is now stored in the cloud at Amazon and Google, is going to be discoverable. While I do believe there are well-established evidence code exceptions (such as the marital privilege we have in California),  I do anticipate California case law to expand to include this new cloud-based “digital” evidence as part of what can be discovered by litigants, under the right circumstances, in a California civil or criminal case.

Legal Tip: When discussing business or anything else that you would like to keep confidential, unplug your Echo or Home and do so far away from your unit (and for that matter, any other type of potential listening device).


Several weeks ago I was interviewed on a podcast that discussed this very issue. You can click here to listen to not only my thoughts, but also those of Jared Correia and Louise Leduc Kennedy.

Along those same lines, this recent post by Brian Heater does an excellent job of explaining what you need to know, as a consumer and business person, about your privacy and this new technology.



Author: Mitch Jackson

I'm a California trial lawyer trying to fix the world one client, cause, and digital interaction at a time.

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