Alexa, What Happened Next?
This one comes from NJ Criminal Defense attorney and SuccessTips reader Matt Portella, who saw it on a listserv post and shared it with me. It’s a fascinating look at how “intelligent assistants” like Alexa, Siri and Cortana are being used in electronic discovery. Here’s the full article:
The blizzard of technological innovation that is modern life has opened up a new field of inquiry for electronic discovery: intelligent assistants. Devices such as the Amazon Echo, Google Assistant and Home, Microsoft Cortana, and Apple Siri are often awake and listening throughout the day, and may often capture information important in litigation. Are they the next gold mine for electronic discovery?
Attorneys Robert D. Lang and Lenore E. Benessere, of D’Amato & Lynch, LLP in New York City, have written Alexa, Siri, Bixby, Google’s Assistant, and Cortana Testifying in Court. The article identifies several discovery issues which the use of digital assistants may pose. Many devices, such as the Amazon Echo, record information and stream it to the Cloud, where a history may be available. The authors cite examples where this stored information may be relevant, such as casting light on a litigant’s daily activities, search history, timers and alarms, and interests. Another implication of discovery of intelligent devices is the possibility they could allow individuals to plant fabricated evidence, such as ordering specific items or documenting activities that did not actually occur.
Some of these devices permit users to delete history, which creates a need to identify devices used and demand preservation of evidence at an early stage of litigation.
The law regarding disclosure of information from intelligent assistants is in its infancy, but there is no reason to believe they will be any more immune from discovery than computers or cell phones. Important questions are yet to be answered, but the reach of discovery law to intelligent devices will, no doubt, develop in the coming years.