Wearable Tech and the Legal System

In today’s culture, lawyers use every kind of resource including data from electronic devices to achieve what their respective clients are after. Witnesses and other kinds of proof including video, phone calls, etc. are being used in lawsuits around the globe. In a first case of its kind, a lawyer is now using data from a wearable Fitbit fitness band to prove a point in a disability law suit.

TechTarget did an extensive write up on this topic. In this case, a lawyer wanted to prove that the client was not at the same level of activity as an average person and was therefore disabled to a certain degree. He used data from a Fitbit band to prove that in court.

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As the article explains this is difficult for a variety of reasons. There is no prior use of such data in the legal system and it is unclear how to evaluate such data to create a base line of “normal” activity. Besides all the questions around this case and the use of Fitbit data, it raises a much wider concern about the use of any kind of data collected by a wearable device and its use in court by either the owner of the device or an opponent. It seems much more likely that an insurance company will want to prove that a person is not disabled, than the other way around. Also, how will Fitbit react to a request to release data from a third party? There are many questions that are up in the air for the moment.

The same type of question would also apply to other forms of wearable devices such as smartwatches and augmented reality headsets. If such data are stored on a server in another country, the legal issue becomes even more complicated. (NH)