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Crime averted as smart home device calls cops amid fracas

Crime averted as smart home device calls cops amid fracas

He threatened to kill her if she called the sheriff.

As if straight out of an episode of "Black Mirror", there's a story making its rounds in the media in which an Amazon Echo saved a woman and her daughter from a violent assault by dialing 911, The New York Times reported. "Barros then kicked her while on the ground at least 10 times in the face and stomach", FOX 8 reported of the criminal complaint. On the 911 recording, Honorio can be heard saying, "Alexa, call 911".

Bernallillo County Sheriff's Department Deputy Felicia Romero said in a report this week that she believed the device had called 911 during a dispute.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit seen by The Post, Barros told his girlfriend she was not going anywhere and that he was going to kill her.

Local law enforcement officials in New Mexico said the Alexa's ability to contact authorities "definitely helped save a mother and her child from a very violent situation".

However, it's impossible for Alexa to call 911, an Amazon representative told INSIDER.

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It's not clear yet what kind of smart speaker device called 911 and how it did so, considering Google Home now can't make voice calls. "This fantastic technology definitely helped save a mother and her child from a very violent situation", said Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III.

Smart home devices are proving they can be quite valuable for police.

Amazon spokeswoman Rachel Hass told the Albuquerque Journal that it would have been impossible for the virtual assistant to call authorities.

While smart home technology is the hero, it will certainly leave some people uneasy, being a clear reminder that smart home devices are always listening. In fact, third-party developers are explicitly prohibited from creating a skill or app that calls 911, even if they wanted to - which is stated clearly in the Alexa Skills Kit policy.

According to CNET, Amazon declined to comment when asked if Alexa would soon receive an emergency calling system following this incident.

While it remains unclear who exactly called 911, the important thing is that everyone involved is safe.


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