Tag: fitness trackers

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.

Study shows mobile apps are inaccurate fitness trackers

The results of new research from the University of Toronto looked into the top three applications.

The outcome of a new study, conducted by the University of Toronto, has revealed that the three most downloaded mobile apps for fitness tracking aren’t nearly as accurate as their users likely believe them to be.

The U of T study indicated that fitness apps have a notably lower accuracy rate than regular pedometers.

When it comes to measuring how much a person walks in a day, standard pedometers were found to be considerably more accurate than the top three downloaded mobile apps that are meant to be used for the same purpose. This is concerning as those applications have been increasing in their popularity and are used by people who are attempting to motivate themselves to reach a more healthful physical activity level every day.

While messaging mobile apps remain the most popular, health and fitness applications have high engagement rates.

Mobile Apps - Fitness appIn fact, a Flurry Analytics survey conducted last September on behalf of Yahoo Canada actually showed that health and fitness apps scored higher on their engagement rate. It is estimated that they are on 11 percent of smartphones. There may be fewer of them than messaging apps, but they cause greater engagement with their users than those more popular rivals.

Due to this high engagement rate, it has made this type of mobile application extremely appealing to companies of all sizes. Everyone from giants to tiny startups are trying to carve out a piece of the market for themselves.

Unfortunately, in this haste to take part, it doesn’t look as though all the participants are taking the care that would be required to make sure their mobile apps are as accurate for users as the main alternative – using a traditional pedometer. The apps that were considered by the study included Moves, Runtastic and Accupedo. The authors of the report stated that “the most commonly downloaded smartphone applications are neither valid nor consistent in measuring step counts.” Several tests were run on both Android and Apple devices in order to allow the researchers to come to this conclusion.