Move Over DNA, Your Wearable Data Could Soon Be Used in the Courtroom
Wearable tech can be fashionable, helpful and can even track your pizza order -- and soon it could also potentially help you win your day in court. Indeed, McLeod Law, a Canadian-based law firm, is planning to use Fitbit data in a personal injury suit, Forbes reports. They are representing a client who was employed as a personal trainer prior to being hurt in a car accident four years ago.
Simon Muller, the head of McLeod's personal injury practice group, told Forbes that they will be using the data, to demonstrate that due to the accident, her activity levels are now below the baseline of "someone of her age and profession." The firm plans on using an analytics program called Vivametrica over a period of several months to process and analyze the Fitbit data.
Generally in cases of this nature, the plaintiffs are medically evaluated and the doctor who examines them shares his observations in court. But this will be the first case of its kind to utilize data tracked by wearables likes Fitbit and could set a precedent for future claims.
Muller told Forbes that as the technology progress, so does what is considered applicable in court. "A number of years ago we saw courts requisition Facebook [for] information. If you've been wearing the Fitbit monitors it's likely you'll see court applications to compel disclosure of that data."
But there is a persistent concern around confidentiality. Professional-service network PricewaterhouseCoopers released a report in October in which 82 percent of responders said they were worried that wearable tech would "invade their privacy." Although 68 percent said they would use wearables offered by their employers and anonymously share their information for "a break on their insurance premiums."
To that end, Reuters reports that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been speaking with Apple about how they will protect user information that is collected in HealthKit, its health-data hub -- Google has a similar platform for Android users called Google Fit.
Fitbit was founded in 2007, and over the last several years, it seems like just about every tech company has made a foray into the wearables game, from Apple's anticipated Apple Watch (which will link up with HealthKit) to the recently announced Lenovo Smartband. In the spring, International Data Corporation predicted more than 19 million wearables will be purchased in 2014.
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