Can Your Fitbit Be Used as Evidence?
Posted in Lawsuit on December 27, 2017
In our information-saturated age, it may be inevitable that wearable fitness devices like your Fitbit can be used as evidence in civil or criminal cases. The first known case where a Fitbit is being used in a civil case is headed to trial soon in Canada, and this may open the floodgates for cases to use Fitbit information as evidence.
The First Case of a Fitbit as Evidence
A personal injury case in Calgary is using information from a client’s Fitbit to support claims. The young woman involved in the case was a personal trainer until four years ago, when she was injured in an accident. Her lawyers intend to use the data from her Fitbit to support her claim that she is no longer able to maintain an active lifestyle after her injury.
The attorneys are using an analytics program, Vivametrica, to provide a baseline of average activity for people similar to their client. They hope this will demonstrate that she is now less active than the general population, while it is understood that she lived a very active lifestyle as a personal trainer prior to her injury. Her lawyers also claim that they have other clients who have comparable circumstances, and they plan to use similar information in the future.
How Information May Be Used Going Forward
If this case paves the way for information from a Fitbit to be used, this may open many cases to use similar information in the future. Though lawyers may not be able to force a client to wear a Fitbit, they may pursue court orders to force whoever holds the information to release it to them. Insurers may even request data from law firms or Fitbit directly. Such information could be used in any number of ways.
The Fitbit not only monitors activity in the number of steps you take, but many such devices monitor heart rate, track sleeping habits, temperature and elevation data. It is not inconceivable that data from a Fitbit may be used in the future to attempt to prove or disprove whether driver fatigue may have played a part in causing an accident. Fitbit data could be used to assert that the claimed injuries suffered by an individual have not prevented the victim from participating in daily runs or other strenuous activities, as well.
How Sound Is the Evidence?
The data provided by your Fitbit can be inaccurate due for any number of reasons, including how you wear the device, and activities that may “fool” the device into thinking you have taken more steps than you actually have. Nevertheless, if this data is allowed to be used as evidence, it will be significant both for insurers, as well as those who have been accident victims going forward.
It seems very likely that this data will increasingly be used as evidence in coming years. Depending on your comfort level with privacy concerns, it may be something to consider before purchasing a Fitbit or other wearable device in the future.