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Alexa Called 911, Police Say, But Amazon Says Device Can't

Image: Alexa Called 911, Police Say, But Amazon Says Device Can't
Police say Alexa, the virtual assistant part of Amazon's Echo device, called 911 during a domestic dispute, but Amazon says that's not possible. (Amber Mcging/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Jul 2017 04:03 PM

A sheriff’s assertion that virtual assistant Alexa called 911 during a domestic dispute cannot be accurate, according to Amazon.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office had originally reported that a virtual device called 911 during the incident when Eduardo Barros asked his girlfriend, “Did you call the sheriff?” Police reports said that a voice-activated speaker heard Barros say "call the sheriff" and called 911, CNN reported.

According to The New York Times, however, Amazon spokeswoman Rachel Hass said Alexa doesn’t have the capability to make calls unless the receiving end has Alexa calling and messaging set up, and that “there is no capability to switch the call to another phone, device or service.”

Wake words also are needed to prompt the call, and none of the possible wake words were used.

Furthermore, girlfriend Milana Honorio was heard on the 911 recording saying, “Alexa, call 911,” which would not have been needed when she was already on the phone with 911, the Times reported.

When sheriff’s deputy Felicia Romero was pressed about the discrepancy, she said Monday that the office didn’t know all the details of how the call happened.

“All we know is Alexa saved a life,” she said, the Times reported.

Police reports said the call was an open line/hang up and that 911 operators at some point called the line back, the Times reported.

Barros was arrested after a standoff with authorities and has 14 different criminal charges pending against him. He is being held without bail. Authorities said he kicked Honorio at least 10 times, grabbed her gun, and threatened to kill her before being captured, CNN reported.

Twitter joked that Alexa has gone rogue and will soon take over our civilization.

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A sheriff's assertion that virtual assistant Alexa called 911 during a domestic dispute cannot be accurate, according to Amazon.
alexa, called, 911, amazon
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2017-03-11
Tuesday, 11 Jul 2017 04:03 PM
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