Evidence in Criminal Cases May Include Multiple Types of Electronic Data

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East Hartford criminal defense attorney for electronic evidenceIn the 21st century, we live in a digital world, and this means that the regular use of computers and other electronic devices leaves a trail of data about a person’s location and activities. In many cases, the collection of data is harmless, and it can even be beneficial, such as when apps are used to track information about a person’s diet and provide recommendations about how they can improve their health. Unfortunately, many people do not realize just how much information about themselves they are sharing and who can access this information. Those who are facing criminal charges should be aware of what types of data could potentially be accessed by law enforcement and how this information could be used as evidence in their case.

Types of Data That May Play a Role in Criminal Cases

In recent years, law enforcement officials have expanded their efforts to obtain information that can be used to identify potential criminal suspects, investigate their whereabouts and activities, and determine whether they have probable cause to arrest a person and charge them with a crime. These investigations may involve information from many different sources, including:

  • Cell phones - The data stored on a person’s smartphone can be used to verify their location, movements, and activities and the people they called or sent messages to. However, even if law enforcement is unable to directly access a person’s phone, they may be able to use other methods to gather information that could be used in a case. Officials may request “tower dumps” that list all of the phones that connected to a cell phone tower during a certain period of time, or they may receive other records from cell phone companies or mobile apps, and they have tools that allow them to analyze this data and track individual users’ locations and the people they have communicated with.

  • Internet searches - While a person’s computer or smartphone will often contain information about the searches they have performed and the websites they have visited, this information may also be obtained from Google or other search providers or online apps.

  • Wearable devices - Many people wear smart watches or use Bluetooth headphones or other devices that connect to their smartphones or computers. These devices track a great deal of information about a person’s life, and if this data is accessed by law enforcement, it could be used to show when a person was awake or asleep or when they were deviating from their regular schedules or routines.

  • “Smart home” devices - Internet-connected speakers, thermostats, garage door openers, and other devices in a person’s home can track data about when a person was or was not at home, as well as their activities and daily schedules.

  • Vehicles - The onboard computers in many modern cars and trucks track a great deal of information, including a vehicle’s location and movements, and even the dates and times when doors are opened and closed, when lights are turned on and off, and when drivers and passengers use seat belts. Many cars also connect with a person’s smartphone and online accounts, and they can track calls that are made, contact lists, voice commands, and use of GPS navigation systems. In many cases, the information stored in a vehicle’s systems is much easier to access than data stored on a smartphone or computer.

Contact a Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges, the attorneys at the Woolf Law Firm, LLC can help you understand the role that electronic data may play in your case, and we will work to ensure that any evidence that is obtained illegally will not be used against you. To learn more about how we can help with your case, contact our Hartford criminal defense lawyers at 860-290-8690 and set up a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.wired.com/story/your-digital-trails-polices-hands/

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/snitches-wheels-police-turn-car-data-destroy-suspects-alibis-n1251939?cid=eml_nbn_20210103

https://theintercept.com/2020/12/23/police-phone-surveillance-dragnet-cellhawk/

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