Written by Christine Watkins-Clark

Illustration redesigned by Devin Thorpe

Internet of Things In Criminal Proceedings

What is the big news?

The Internet of Things boom has connected billions of wireless devices worldwide. These devices form an intelligent network that already impacts all aspects of daily life. The technology within these interconnected devices picks up on all sorts of data, traces left behind by often unwitting people within the metadata of their on-person devices.

This data has been gaining validity as proof in court proceedings and can now be used in criminal proceedings as digital evidence.

Impact of IoT on Digital Evidence

Digital evidence is data gathered by our smartphones, laptops, cameras, and any device that connects to the internet. Most of these devices can sync with each other. Advanced IoT devices can collect microscopic details; this evidence becomes the main source of truth before the law. As tech becomes more advanced, wearing our tech devices for more immediate connections and convenience has become commonplace.

Investigation in the new age

The old techniques of crime investigation namely questioning witnesses, collecting physical and documentary evidence, and testing and interpreting have proven to be biased, malleable, and prone to error. However, the Internet of Things includes binary information like emails, chat history, call records, or any single bit of digital information that has all proven reliable in criminal inquiries.

Individuals in the digital forensic industry increasingly use digital evidence. The automatic recording of data even indicates if there has been tampering of the record. Digital forensic experts predict that digital evidence may serve to impede future criminal acts.

Why does this matter?

The criminal justice system bears an enormous responsibility in maintaining order and delivering justice in an objective and consistent manner with confidence and as low a margin of error as possible. That’s a tall order considering how subjective, biased, and often imperceptive, humanity can be. Digital evidence can give context to situations requiring objective evidence of what happened and when. In this regard, digital evidence might become more useful in the future.

IoT Forensic Opportunities And Challenges

The rise of digital evidence provides the general public with a running record of unbiased data collection based on activity, and it lends objective digital evidence to criminal proceedings. This is a field that is expanding and is expected to be worth at least $6.65B by 2025 in North America.

Although there are opportunities in the advancement of the Internet of Things, there are challenges. The ongoing collection of data gives the device manufacturers a wealth of data points on their customers. While customers may accept the cookies to access the convenience, this trade shifts power to manufacturers.

Additionally, with the increase of cloud devices and services, cybercriminals have more opportunities to hack and take advantage of customers. Service providers must increase their cybersecurity measures to keep up with the Internet of Things advancements.


Featured Header Image Source: Cellebrite

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