Any accessory that has the ability to connect to the internet and enable data to be exchanged between a network and the device is considered wearable technology. This includes smartwatches, Fitbits, and other devices that allow for the exchange of data without any involvement on the part of the user. Most of us are collecting wearable technology data every day, without even thinking about it.
Recent Instances of Wearable Technology in the Courtroom
A woman injured in an accident claimed she could no longer work as a personal trainer. The court allowed her to support her claim for damages by entering evidence from her Fitbit, a piece of wearable technology, that showed the difference in her activity level after the accident.
Although there is potential for these devices to be used in support of either a plaintiff or defendant, there are legal obstacles to the use of information that can be gleaned from those devices. Generally, there are three evidentiary considerations.
The court will need to be convinced that the data being admitted is relevant, authentic, and reliable.
- The data must be relevant. A plaintiff might claim that her physical activity was curtailed as the result of an accident. Revealing the data collected by wearable technology from before and after the accident might serve as relevant support of such claims.
- The data must be authenticated in a way that proves the device was worn by the plaintiff. The plaintiff must prove that she was wearing the device at the time relevant to the case. If another person could have been wearing the device, the data may be compromised.
- The data from the device must be reliable. If the device collects data through inconsistent methods, the data could be unreliable and inaccurate. For example, a smartwatch worn over a sleeve might not collect the accurate heart rate of its user.
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