Fitness trackers like Fitbits and Apple Watches are becoming materially important sources of evidence upon which criminal and civil cases may turn in court. Whether the activity, health, or location evidence is found in the fitness tracker, the smartphone paired to it, or the connected, online cloud account, its recovery has the power to deliver the facts, difficult to dispute, that speak to the truth.
ESI from fitness trackers, digital watches, or other wearable devices is having an impact. During the past five years we have seen it emerge in cases of first impression in personal injury and wrongful death. In criminal matters we’re seeing it primarily in homicides, but also criminal sexual conduct cases. This article cites several case studies from both criminal and civil litigation, cases of first impression all, in their U.S. and international jurisdictions.
Each of us in the U.S. this year uses between three to four smart devices connected to the Internet including a wearable fitness tracker. Each is equipped to record voluminous amounts of personal, even intimate, information about our digital lives.
Fitbit sold about 16 million units of its smart fitness trackers last year bringing its user base to over 27 million persons. Fitbit’s activity types include walking, running, swimming, and sleeping. Activities are measured in steps walked, floors climbed, heart rate, and sleep activity and quality.
If you would like to earn more about the digital forensics of fitness trackers and other wearable devices, read on at Minnesota Lawyer here.
– John J. Carney, Esq.