Tag: fitbit

Fitness trackers could be used as evidence against the wearer in court

These wearable technology gadgets are highly popular but may also be used for legal purposes.

Consumers who purchase and use fitness trackers for the purposes of monitoring their health and activity levels may be surprised to discover that those same devices could actually be used against them in a court of law.

This type of wearable technology can monitor a lot about a person, providing useful legal evidence.

Various types of fitness trackers have been flying off the shelves, from Fitbits to Jawbones and smartwatches. They are used to track your steps and calorie burning, as well as your heart rate and sleep, in some cases. However, in a court of law, this can also provide a considerable amount of information to help to determine what the wearer was doing at the time of an incident. According to Bruce Hagen, an attorney from Atlanta whose firm has a specialty in bicycle accident cases, “This is the same as the black box data you would get on a car or a truck or an airplane.” Hagen has been requesting fitness data from his clients for a year.

The fitness trackers help to show how active a person was before an incident occurred.

Fitness Trackers and CourtWhile the wearable technology was being used to track the wearer’s activity, it can actually provide a record of that individual’s life. Some situations allow the data to be used to reveal how active a person had been, on average, before an accident, and how that trend changed following a crash. This type of data can help to provide evidence with regards to a person’s honesty about the impact an accident has had on their lives or “it can also catch them in a lie if it comes to that,” explained Hagen.

The first time this type of evidence from wearables was ever used was from a case in rural Pennsylvania. As it turned out, the law enforcement officers from the case were the ones who thought of accessing the data from the wearable technology.

The case involved a 911 call in which a Florida woman reported a sexual assault by an unknown intruder while she had been staying at her boss’s home. For a number of reasons, Detective Chris Jones started to doubt the woman’s case as he conducted his investigation. He then realized that she had a Fitbit, and he requested her login and password in order to access the information stored within her tracking account.

The fitness tracker data showed that the wearer had taken around 1,000 steps between the time she claimed to have gone to bed and the time and phoning the police. This evidence held up in court, revealing that she had been taking the steps as she staged the crime scene.

Is wearable technology a flash in the pan to end in 2016?

Some predictions are starting to suggest that wearables are going to start disappearing next year.

Venture capital partner, Rick Yang, from New Enterprise Associates has released a prediction that the year ahead will be a critical one in wearable technology in which many of the devices we currently see on the market will be dying off forever.

Yang spoke specifically of the first generation devices that laid a foundation but that are rapidly being replaced.

According to the prediction from Yang, first generation wearable technology devices such as Google Glass, the Apple Watch and even the original Fitbit and Jawbone fitness trackers were vital to opening up the door to a spectrum of new and far more fashionable gadgets. He explained that “What that means is the wearable that integrates very directly into your everyday life, into your existing fashion sense to the extent that nobody knows you’re wearing a wearable.”

Yang added that the later generations of wearable technology feel more like an accessory than tech.

Wearable technology and the futureHe said that with the maturity of the market, luxury brands are going to start coming out with their own versions of smartwatches like the Apple Watch. This is already being seen in some important announcements of partnerships between luxury watchmakers and design houses that are working with tech giants to come out with appealing fashion accessories that have the features expected from wearables.

Yang said that “At the premium end of the spectrum, it’s something like a Tag Heuer, right? It looks like a Tag, but it provides much more functionality than a Tag.” He also pointed to Athos, the startup supported by venture capital, which develops and manufactures workout clothes with embedded sensors for smart features. These smart clothes track heart and respiration rate, muscle groups and other health and performance issues.

To Yang, the most important feature of wearable technology in the future will be that it will function without feeling like a device is actually being worn. That way, a user can continue with his or her regular routines without having to think about whether or not gadgets are involved.