Your Fitbit could help solve your murder

October 4, 2018 • Gadgets and Gaming, Top Stories

According to reports from numerous American news outlets, a woman's Fitbit helped catch her murderer.

Your Fitbit could help solve your murder

According to reports from numerous American news outlets, a woman’s Fitbit helped catch her murderer.

ABC News reported that a 90-year-old man was arrested for allegedly killing his stepdaughter last month in San Jose, California when authorities used data from her Fitbit to confirm that he was in her apartment shortly before her death.

The victim’s Fitbit Alta indicated a spike in her heart rate during the man’s visit to her apartment, only to slow down rapidly before stopping completely. The spike was registered on 8 September at 3:20 p.m. and the Fitbit stopped registering heart rate data only eight minutes later at 3:28 p.m.

Police discovered the 67-year-old victim after responding to a welfare check on the 13th of September. The stepfather was arrested based on data from the Fitbit and corroboration with video surveillance.

This also isn’t the first time a Fitbit has assisted in this kind of investigation. Fitbit data has been used in at least two other cases, one to determine the activity and whereabouts of a jogger that went missing in Iowa earlier this year and another to convict a man of killing his wife when her Fitbit data contradicted what he told police.

Based on these events, it’s not unlikely that data from other wearables could be used in a police investigation, but Fitbits are easier to access based on their latest privacy policy update.

The policy, effective as of September 18, 2018, states: “We may preserve or disclose information about you to comply with a law, regulation, legal process, or governmental request; to assert legal rights or defend against legal claims; or to prevent, detect, or investigate illegal activity, fraud, abuse, violations of our terms, or threats to the security of the Services or the physical safety of any person.”

“Our policy is to notify you of legal process seeking access to your information, such as search warrants, court orders, or subpoenas, unless we are prohibited by law from doing so. In cases where a court order specifies a non-disclosure period, we provide delayed notice after the expiration of the non-disclosure period. Exceptions to our notice policy include exigent or counterproductive circumstances, for example, when there is an emergency involving a danger of death or serious physical injury to a person.”

So not only does your Fitbit keep you healthy and accountable, but it could also help you get justice in the event of an untimely death.

By Daniëlle Kruger
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