Your wearable technology and mobile devices may be providing more information than you think. Some data from mobile devices and wearable items can be used in court as evidence. It is important to know what information can be obtained and used legally, some without the requirement of a warrant being issued.
Accessing applications that allow for an exact location with a timestamp of activity taking place can be used in court. In some cases, however, this action will require a warrant to be obtained. Some smartphones and mobile devices have a history within them that shows where locations were pinged for use by applications including weather reports.
If you convey to law enforcement that you were in one place, but an application shows activity elsewhere, the GPS location pinged through the application will show the opposite of your testimony.
Social Media Posting Logs
If you use a mobile device to log into social media platforms, a log of login times is often kept on the device. Some applications will also record the location of the login. This information can be used in court since there are no special processes to enter to obtain the information, other than the phone’s password being removed.
Fitness App Records
Using a fitness app requires that you track data in your phone for accurate results. Devices like a FitBit, for example, can provide information to law enforcement showing that you were completing activities on a specific date and specific time. If you are guilty as charged, this information is detrimental to your case and helps the prosecution.
In instances where innocence is pled, this information can be helpful. It can prove that you were nowhere near the scene of the crime in question at the time the event took place.
Device Use History
All mobile devices, just like computers, keep a history of websites visited, types of use and applications accessed. All of these actions are kept in a chronological log. Clearing your browser, cache and phone’s history can help keep this information private. The device can also tell when information was cleared, which a warrant is required for, so you can also end up in trouble for erasing data.
Non-Waking Activity Logs
Activities, such as sleep, can also be tracked on some fitness applications and wearable devices. This information may confirm or deny that you were sleeping during a specific period based upon the data recorded for sleep monitoring purposes on a wearable device. If you wish to keep this information private, it is ideal to clear your data on a weekly basis.
Law enforcement officials and court systems do not need a warrant to view your call logs with cooperation from the person in question. If a party is non-cooperative a warrant for access, or to inquire with the service provide, is required. Call logs show the duration of a phone call, the date/time and the phone number.
In the event of an accident that you are deemed at-fault in, any claims of seeing a driver texting while driving are investigated. In most cases, simply turning the phone’s screen on reveals the activities of a distracted driver and provides direct access to the last text or text-in-progress without having to unlock a password.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, personal injury claim or other criminal activity, it is best to cooperate with law enforcement. Whether they have permission to obtain data from your phone or not, right away, they will obtain a warrant to obtain the necessary evidence. It is also a good idea to read the terms of your applications to see exactly what data is collected and stored. This information will help you decide whether to keep the application in-use.