TIME

Alexa takes the stand: Listening devices raise privacy issues

WHEN VICTOR COLLINS WAS FOUND DEAD, FLOATING faceup in his friend James Bates’ hot tub in Bentonville, Ark., one chilly morning in November 2015, police were quick to suspect foul play. Broken glass littered the patio, and blood was splattered on a brown vinyl pool cover nearby. But in a subsequent investigation, which led police to indict Bates, 32, for Collins’ murder, some of the most crucial evidence was gleaned not only from the crime scene but from an array of Internet-connected devices in Bates’ home.

Data from his “smart” utility meter, for example, indicated that someone had used 140 gal. of water between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., a detail that seemed to confirm investigators’ suspicions that the patio had been hosed down before they arrived. Records from Bates’ iPhone 6s Plus, which required a

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