The Second Smart Witness: Fitbit Does More Than Monitor Your Health

Off the record, Fitbit does more than monitor your health…it can help put a criminal behind bars. After 16 months of anxiously waiting for an update in the Dabate murder case, family members of Connie Dabate can finally express some relief after Fitbit comes to the rescue.

Earlier this season, we were made aware of the potential for a ‘smart device’ such as the Amazon Echo home audio speaker, to be used as a witness against an individual in court. Now, it seems as if the Fitbit is another smart device that would prove to be of some testimonial use against an individual in court.

Back in December 2015, Richard Dabate reported to law enforcement that his wife, Connie, was the victim of a home invasion whereby a “tall, masked, obese man” entered into their home and shot his wife dead. Ironically, his wife’s Fitbit tells a different story, a story about 1 hour off from the story Mr. Dabate provided to authorities. Investigators discovered text messages between Mr. and Mrs. Dabate that were sent one-year prior to Mrs. Dabate’s murder indicating Mr. Dabate wanted a divorce, oh, and not to mention a credit card statement showing charges from hotels, strip clubs, and floral purchases for an unknown mistress of his. Mrs. Dabate was found inside the home with multiple gunshot wounds from a Magnum .357, a gun that Mr. Dabate has purchased months prior. Authorities created a “smart timeline” of the events that led up to Mrs. Dabate’s murder that day by analyzing the couple’s home alarm system, computers, cell phones, social media postings, and Mrs. Dabate’s Fitbit.

The Fitbit device (whether it’s the band or the watch) allows its user to track how many steps taken each day, monitor the user’s heart rate, and other statistics including dietary consumption and sleeping habits. As of today, it also allowed for the gaps to be filled in to what appeared to be a horrifying experience for a significant other. By analyzing Ms. Dabate’s movements as calculated by her Fitbit, Connecticut police were able to conclude that there was no home invasion of the Dabate household, but rather a husband who wanted his wife gone and almost got away with it, but for this health bracelet. The steps and times Mrs. Dabate was out and about per the Fitbit around her wrist, did not coincide with the story law enforcement was provided with. Mr. Dabate, who is currently out of custody, will return to court this Friday with new information…and technology against him.

When purchasing smart technology, some consumers don’t appreciate the complexity and depth that comes with these devices. There are serious ramifications of connecting an individual’s world to these devices. Once devices like the FitbitEchoHome, or NEST are connected connect to your online accounts, the consumer now has a digital footprint…even in the legal system.

Every connection to cyberspace has an effect. The more you use it, the more you put yourself out there. We are in an age now where technology can and will be used against us in a court of law.

 

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