It is one of the downsides of the connected lifestyle: The data you generate can be used to your disadvantage as well as your benefit.
Witness a legal case in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where a personal injury case is underway that will use activity data from a wearable fitness band to help show the effects of an accident on a young woman in 2010. The data is being processed by Vivametrica, a company specializing in the analysis of wearable device data for the purposes of assessing health and wellness. To the degree the woman’s mobility was impacted by the accident is what the data is being used to prove in a court of law.
As wearables such as Google Glass, Fitbit Flex, Jawbone UP and the Narrative Clip are embraced by a wider segment of the world population, law firms are finding a veritable gold mine of electronically-stored information (ESI) for use in litigation. We have previously reported on how in-car data collection is being examined by officers of the court and how they are attempting to use this data in their legal cases. Similarly, we pointed out that while the technologies had the potential for these uses, they were not originally developed for legal or law enforcement applications and thus could prove to be unreliable.
Automakers have already self-regulated to a degree on consumer data privacy. The Privacy Principles pertain to voluntary commitments made by automakers on the data within their control. Once the data exits the vehicle (or is removed by a nomadic device on which it is stored), it falls outside the practical limits of the Privacy Principles. Here is where data privacy becomes less than airtight. Wearables equipped with GPS and biometrics such as the ability to identify unique heartbeat patterns can not only confirm a person’s location at a given time, it can biometrically prove that person’s identity.
Consumers will enjoy a high degree of privacy protection from automakers that commit to and enforce the Privacy Principles. Consumers should demand similar protections from companies developing connected wearable and nomadic devices, noting that these protections will provide a competitive market advantage and more consumer confidence in the long run.
As laws try to keep up with the ecosystem of connected technologies, we expect to see more precedents being set in the litigation of data, whether generated in the car or on your wrist.
Source: How your Fitbit data can and will be used against you in a court of law – The Conversation