As wearable technology is increasingly popular, its data is increasingly used in law. Fitbit Wristbands, Google Health Bands, Apple Watches and their ilk all provide data that can be useful, depending on the situation.
For example, in a recent Canadian personal injury case, the activity baseline for a certain age and profession was set by a Fitbit Wristband to show that an injured personal trainer’s activity level is now subpar. Also, in a recent Pennsylvania case, a woman’s Fitbit Wristband undercut her rape complaint when it was shown that she was lying about her activity during a certain place and time.
Some experts believe that wearable technology will eventually become a human “black box” that can give valuable data regarding a subject’s place and activity, supporting or undermining his/her testimony and other evidence.
While some welcome the advancement, advocates of civil liberties and privacy are wary of wearable technology’s encroachment on privacy and due process. As one expert put it, self-tracking will lead to self-incrimination.
The web-based data provided by Fitbit and other wearable tech, which has fewer protections than data on personal computers and cellphones, is compelling civil liberties advocates to press Congress for an updated Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) that will give “Digital Due Process” regarding data stored in the cloud-based data and web-based e-mail.
Unfortunately, an updated ECPA affecting wearable technology is will not occur in the foreseeable future. No such Bill is reportedly before either House of Congress. However, there is an Email Privacy Act (HR 699) in the House of Representatives that may come up for a vote in the near future.
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