Will you buy a smartwatch this holiday season?
Wearable technology is the new black, and every player in the market is vying for top honors to be the next gadget for which customers will fight. While Santa will be placing a smartwatch under a lot of trees, eDiscovery professionals will be looking to see what new challenges will arise.
There are still some limitations in the abilities that these wearable devices have and will have, although they already present a challenge in eDiscovery. When information is shared among multiple items, such as a watch, a smartphone and a cloud, issues of preservation, privacy, and security arise. And what wearable technology can do now is enough to be used in a lawsuit. Fitbits, which track health related information, are being used as “witnesses” of an individual physical activity. A Fitbit has been used in a personal injury claim. The plaintiff was injured four years ago when she was a personal trainer, and her lawyers used her Fitbit data to show that her activity levels were lower than the baseline for someone of her age and profession to prove she deserved compensation. In another rape case, the Fitbit contradicted the statements of the victim by showing that at the time of the crime, she was awake and walking around, when she claimed she had been attacked while asleep.
All the metadata created by a wearable device is discoverable, and if it’s relevant to the matter at hand, then it’s evidence. And consumers might not be aware of this fact when they purchase a device. Wearable technology opens yet another door into a world that will slowly provide answers and best practices, case by case. Lawyers will have to be well-versed in the technology, and get assistance from eDiscovery experts if necessary. After all, smartwatches have been designed to provide much more than the time.
Are you ready for it?