Amazon Refuses To Take Credit After Alexa Calls Police
Following on from last week’s report that a Google Home unit called the police on a couple during a domestic dispute, it’s now been revealed that the smart device in question was actually Amazon’s Echo.
As reported by ABC News, “Eduardo Barros was house-sitting with his girlfriend and her daughter Sunday night at a residence in Tijeras, some 15 miles east of Albuquerque. The couple got into an argument and the altercation became physical, according to the Bernalillo County Sheriff Department’s spokesperson, Deputy Felicia Romero.”
“Barros allegedly wielded a firearm and threatened to kill his girlfriend, asking her: “Did you call the sheriffs?” A smart speaker, which was hooked up to a surround sound system inside the home, recognized that as a voice command and called 911, Romero said.”
However, in a unexpected twist, Amazon have openly refuted the narrative offered by police. They insist that calling the police isn’t something that their premiere smart speaker is capable of.
“Alexa calling and messaging does not support 911 calls,” a company representative told BuzzFeed News.
Amazon say that the smart assistant requires a ‘wake word’ to make calls.
After this initial account of the incident came under scrutiny, the local police clarified their explanation by saying that someone in the house could be heard in the 911 recording yelling, “Alexa, call 911.”
However, Amazon pushed back on this explanation too, insisting that the Echo can only call other Alexa devices that have enabled calling and have been added to a user’s contact list.
Once again, the police revised their account of the incident claiming. They now say that Alexa was used in combination with a home phone or cellular phone system.
Unfortunately for them, the Echo doesn’t actually support mobile phone calls in the way described.
It’s self-evident that 911 was alerted to the incident somehow, but the odds of Alexa being involved in a meaningful way seem to be dwindling by the day.