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Monday, 26 June 2017

Newly Developed Smart Devices Now Outsmarting Criminals.

Richard Dabate told police a veiled gatecrasher struck him and murdered his significant other in their Connecticut home. His significant other's Fitbit recounted another story and Dabate was accused of the murder.
James Bates said an acquaintance accidentally drowned in his hot tub in Arkansas. Detectives suspected foul play and obtained data from Bates’ Amazon Echo device. Bates was charged with murder.

Ross Compton told investigators he woke up to find his Ohio home on fire and climbed through a window to escape the flames. Compton’s pacemaker suggested otherwise. He was charged with arson and insurance fraud.

All three men, besides pleading innocence, have one thing in common: digital devices may help put them behind bars and etch them in criminal history as some of the first perpetrators busted by the internet of things.

Plenty more will surely follow because the connected devices we use for convenience, entertainment and health can also contradict our alibis and expose our lies.

Smart cars, fridges, doorbells, watches, phones, Fitbits, sneakers, televisions, gaming consoles, coffee makers, pacemakers – a fast proliferating list – all can monitor, record and be used as evidence.

Detectives across the U.S. are learning the value of connected devices.

Richard Dabate claimed a would-be burglar beat him and shot his wife, Connie, in their home in Ellington, Connecticut, shortly before Christmas in December 2015. But she was wearing a Fitbit that showed her walking 1,217 feet around the house well after the time her husband said she was shot.

When detectives checked her phone they found a list titled: “Why I Want a Divorce.” Dabate’s murder trial is pending.

Police in Bentonville, Arkansas, suspected foul play in the November 2015 death of Victor Collins, who went to the home of James Bates to watch a football game and wound up dead in a hot tub.

Bates had several internet-connected devices, including a Nest thermostat and Amazon Echo. The Echo responds to voice commands and streams audio to the cloud, including a fraction of a second of audio before its “wake word."

Amazon initially resisted a police request for Echo data, citing the First Amendment, but relented after Bates approved the handover. Its relevance in the case is unclear. Bates’ smart water device may also yield clues. It recorded 140 gallons of water use during the early hours of the night in question. Bates’ murder trial is also pending.

Ross Compton said he was sleeping when his house in Middletown, Ohio, caught fire in September 2016. He said he grabbed some possessions and jumped out a window. Investigators pulled data from his pacemaker, which, according to a cardiologist, undermined Compton’s account. He has been charged with aggravated arson and insurance fraud.

Public awareness has yet to catch up with the ubiquity and implications of connected technology.

Ring, an LA-based start-up, has sold about 1 million video doorbells that connect to smartphones and WiFi networks. Jamie Siminoff, the company founder, showed the Guardian a video of a woman and a male companion ringing a bell in Monrovia, California, and then trying the handle. The absent homeowner, watching remotely, challenged them through the speaker. Startled, they fled.

The homeowner notified police, who nabbed the couple, with a third person, at a traffic stop. The woman had an outstanding arrest warrant and was driving with a suspended license. The car contained a loaded gun and ounce of heroin.

But Brian Jackson, a criminal justice scholar at the Rand Corporation, said some police departments, especially smaller ones, struggled to keep pace with the technology. The U.S. has more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies, not all able or willing to grasp the opportunities, he said.

from The Guardian..


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