Help! My Roomba Sent Me to Jail. Evidence in an Age of Smart Stuff
You know what's smart? Your Roomba. You know what's not so smart? Ending up in jail because of it. In my latest cheeky video on Technocat Tube we're diving into some wild stories of how smart technology has sent people straight to jail. That's right, buckle up and get ready for some juicy examples that might make you second-guess your Roomba and Alexa.
What the Heck is the Internet of Things and Why Should You Care?
The new kid on the ESI block today is the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is an ecosystem of over 30 billion web-enabled things (from smartwatches to smart refrigerators). Constantly performing tasks, collecting data, and in some cases, sharing it.
Today a smart home might be chock full of these internet-connected devices which may include:
- Robot Vacuums like a Roomba or iRobot
- Personal Assistants like Alexa or the Echo
- Smart Doorbells like Nest with video surveillance
- Smart Thermostats
- Wearable Smart Devices like a Fitbit or Apple Watch
- Smart Appliances like Washer & Dryer or Refrigerator
- Smart TVs
- Smart Cars
- Security Systems
- Climate Control
Smart Stuff, Stupid Criminals
Each of these devices possesses a wealth of customer data about human behavior, and movement. And many could contain information dispositive to a case or investigation. Court cases have used information harvested from IoT devices to solve crimes from theft to murder.
Scarface Stuffing His Face
First up, we've got a man whose drug-dealing operation was busted thanks to his smart fridge. The fridge had a camera that took photos every time he opened the fridge door where he happened to stash his drugs. And guess what? The cops found drugs in there. Shocker!
Telltale Heart (Beat)
Next, we have a classic tale of a murderer who tried to blame his wife's death on a phantom intruder. Unfortunately for him, his Fitbit revealed that he was physically active during the time of the murder. Nice try, buddy, but you're guilty as charged!
Oh, and let's not forget about the dude who got sent to jail for burglary thanks to his Roomba vacuum cleaner. Yes, you read that right. After breaking into a house, he decided to clean up the place with his trusty Roomba.
Little did he know that the device recorded his every move and sent the data to the company, who then contacted the cops. Smart devices really do have a mind of their own.
Can You Hear Me Now?
And speaking of eavesdropping gadgets, a man was caught for murder thanks to his Amazon Echo. The device captured the audio of the murder. After Amazon finally released the data (after some serious legal wrangling), the guy was convicted and sent to the slammer.
Moving on to a smart thermostat that revealed a cannabis farm. The cops noticed that the thermostat was using a lot of electricity, and when they raided the house, they found a whole bunch of Mary Jane growing. The owner was promptly arrested and sentenced to some serious time in jail.
But wait, there's more! A smart doorbell caught a thief in the act and sent him straight to the pokey. A smart TV ratted out a guy for watching child pornography, and a smart smoke detector exposed an arsonist. Even a smart lock was in on the action, trapping a burglar and sending him to the big house. And let's not forget about the smart car that caught a hit-and-run driver in the act.
Being Smart with Smart Stuff
These wild and crazy examples of smart technology sending people straight to jail are a cautionary tale. As well as a reminder to look for evidence in smart stuff. Smart devices may be helpful, but they're always watching, transmitting, and recording. The mobile app or device sitting in a living room might just be the needle in a haystack for the next big case!