How your phone and fitness band could end up giving evidence against you

A criminal suspect can’t be forced to divulge their phone passcode, a US circuit court judge ruled in October 2014. Yet law enforcement officials can compel a suspect to provide a fingerprint – which they can then use to unlock the phone and obtain data which may prove the case against them.

In an ongoing Canadian civil case, activity data from a Fitbit fitness band is being used to determine the truthfulness of an accident victim’s claim that she is less active now than before the accident.

And in another civil case, where a plaintiff argued that his injuries meant he was no longer able to operate a computer for lengthy periods of time, a court ruled that the defendants had a right to access metadata from his hard drive that showed how often the claimant had used his PC.

Keeping in mind David Cameron’s suggestion in January that there should be no such thing as private messaging, how much of this is reasonable? How do we strike a balance between the privacy of the individual and the state’s interest in justice being served?

It might be reasonably argued that the degree of intrusion should be proportional to the seriousness of the accusation. But this principle can easily take us into very grey territory.

Read the Full Article: Source – The Guardian

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