Smart speaker calls cops to break up a domestic disturbance

Smart speaker calls cops to break up a domestic disturbance
We know how useful smart speakers can be. Pairing a speaker with a virtual assistant allows users to activate smart appliances (like lights, thermostats, entertainment systems etc.), stream music playlists, obtain information like the weather, sports scores and the news. Depending on the model, you can send texts and even make and take phone calls. And as a mother and daughter in New Mexico discovered the other day, certain smart speakers will call the cops in the middle of a domestic dispute.

A week ago, Eduardo Barros was house-sitting in Tijeras with his girlfriend and her daughter. A dispute between the adults eventually became physical and Barros, who was carrying a firearm, threatened to kill his girlfriend. He asked her, "Did you call the sheriff?" The home that Barros, his girlfriend and daughter were in happened to have a smart speaker system hooked into a surround sound set up. So when Barros asked his girlfriend if she called the sheriff, it was mistakenly converted into a command to call law enforcement.

When the cops arrived, they removed the girlfriend and her daughter from the scene. The girlfriend had sustained some injuries, but did not require a trip to the hospital. Barros held the cops off for a few hours before the SWAT team and crisis negotiators were called in. After finally giving up, the boyfriend was charged with possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon, aggravated battery against a household member, aggravated assault against a household member and false imprisonment. Authorities said that the smart speaker might have saved a life by calling 9-1-1 when it did.


Earlier reports said that the smart speaker involved in this story was a Google Home unit, but later versions removed any reference to a specific model.

source: ABCNews

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29 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 30661; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Men that beat on women ain't sh!t

3. izim1

Posts: 1585; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

What about women who beat on men? Or what about men that beat on smaller men? Women who beat on women? Men and women who beat children? Pointless comment is pointless because anyone that beats on anyone "aint sh!t". Nice try at being a white knight, though. Im sure all the ladies on phonearena just got all wet for you after reading your tumblr post.

4. swayze91

Posts: 51; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Well that escalated quickly

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 30661; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I saw no reason to even reply to his post, as it made no sense as a response to mine.

6. swayze91

Posts: 51; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Much respect for you for doing so.

7. darkkjedii

Posts: 30661; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Thanx. I'm not gonna sit there and argue on a topic like this. I'm glad the mom and child are ok, that's what matters most.

8. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1182; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

He does have a point though. We live in a time where a lot of women constantly fight for their "equality". So why not treat them as equal? Feminism makes me puke these days, so I do see his comment as accurate.

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 30661; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I'll say it again. Men who beat on women ain't sh!t.

10. izim1

Posts: 1585; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

What, did it not work the first time? I don't understand... it's obvious youre trying to score points with the ladies, and i was certain that post and your profile pic would do the trick. Maybe the ladies arent on here on Sunday evenings? Post it again, later.

11. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

It is common sense that beating people is bad (unless that person is evil, LOL) Maybe darkk said that specifically because the article is about a man beating up a woman? Geez

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 30661; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I can't understand why he doesn't see that lol. He just wants to argue, but I'm not giving him the pleasure.

16. darkkjedii

Posts: 30661; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

He's showing me no mercy lol.

21. umaru-chan

Posts: 322; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

LOL, savage.

13. cbonica

Posts: 17; Member since: Jun 07, 2011

Darkkjedii's comment corresponds with the topic of the article. Obviously violence is unnecessary.

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 30661; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Well said. I won't take his bait. He wants to argue.

24. izim1

Posts: 1585; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

This is a tech website, not cnn or Huffington post. The topic of this article is the smart speaker calling the police. Everything else is secondary. It's like going to an article about drones that can reach high altitudes and posting "the sky is blue"... yeah... ok? Obviously violence is unnecessary. Should go without saying. No need for fedora wearing bronies to point it out. Only thing missing from a comment like his, and those defending it, is a "m'lady" at the end.

25. bonsly16

Posts: 92; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

My goodness. He called out men who beat women and you got butt-hurt about it...because he specifically called out one gender? Grow up.

26. cbonica

Posts: 17; Member since: Jun 07, 2011

Lol, you really are a sad case. Is the one (1) in your name for your iQ.

27. cbonica

Posts: 17; Member since: Jun 07, 2011

By the way iQ stands for intelligent quotient.

28. cbonica

Posts: 17; Member since: Jun 07, 2011

For your information, a total score derived from several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence.

29. cbonica

Posts: 17; Member since: Jun 07, 2011

You should put a J in from of your name.

18. lyndon420

Posts: 6366; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Great...another hyper-sensitive liberal. You do realize that you just upset the gender-confused types by not mentioning them in your rant.

22. izim1

Posts: 1585; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

https://i.redditmedia.com/mqNtfS5pwW9WY_QI5-ZiMsCfXJCUYNtT4BHB4uLP9bE.jpg?w=540&s=40123b7d30802f62c0514bbc4729c557 Does that upset you? Or gets a laugh? Because that's basically what he posted... Classic Trumpanzee. Has to make everything about liberals.

2. JcHnd

Posts: 243; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

LOL great job smart devices!

12. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

I'm not gonna pretend like I understand how it all started, but I'm glad nobody got shot. That said, who knows what else these "smart" speakers have been eaves-dropping on. Sure as hell won't want one in my household.

17. DnB925Art

Posts: 1165; Member since: May 23, 2013

I'm surprised, I own 2 Google Homes and wouldn't you have to either say "OK Google" or "Hey Google" and then state "call the sheriff" or something similar?

20. alexvoda

Posts: 39; Member since: Jan 11, 2013

That aspect is really troubling. Are there command it listens for without being spoken to? If so, what are those? Will that list get expanded? If it will get expanded, with natural language processing improving, will these devices call the cops on you they hear you talking to a friend about organizing a protest? Before going on, this is all hypothetical. Maybe one of them said the keyword. Maybe the woman is named Alexa. Who knows. We need more information before making noise about this. It still perplexes me that people are willingly installing always-on microphones connected to some corporation in their homes.

19. lyndon420

Posts: 6366; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Curious as to how the conversation went between the speaker and law enforcement.

23. mrmessma

Posts: 271; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

It would likely result in the smart speaker being used as a phone, to which the dispatcher would hear yelling fighting, similar to a phone dialed and left off the hook.

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