Have You Been Mistaken for a Criminal with a Digital Fingerprint?
Our reliance on the internet and electronic devices can result in digital fingerprints that could wrongly implicate you in a crime.
Most of us spend large amounts of time online. Whether we use a cellphone, tablet, or a desktop computer, every time we go on the internet we leave a trail behind that acts as a digital fingerprint. The trails are not just limited to these devices. Many electronics and tools that rely on wif-fi connections, such as home security systems, end up collecting vast amounts of data on our activities. While this data is increasingly being used in criminal cases, it is not foolproof and could result in false accusations.
Digital Footprints: Devices That Collect Data on Your Activities
Electronic devices that allow us to access the internet and go online, whether to send emails, visit websites, or post on social media, are a regular part of our daily lives. Sensors used in these devices are increasingly being used in other products as well. This includes:
- Cellphone and computer apps;
- Home Wi-fi ports and Bluetooth systems;
- Home security systems;
- Devices such as Alexa, Amazon Echo, or Google Home;
- Medical devices, including blood sugar screening tests, sleep apnea equipment, and pacemakers.
The Rand Corporation, which is a non-profit think tank, warns that sensors used in these devices are tracking our activities, forming a digital fingerprint. The data collected can then be sent throughout the internet. Microphones and cameras can also be automatically turned on and accessed automatically, without your knowledge. While strong passwords and security features help to protect your privacy, there is still plenty of information available and people frequently give permission to collect this data as part of service agreements.
Companies are not the only ones benefiting from this data. The police are now using it in criminal cases, but unlike other types of tangible evidence, there is a greater opportunity for false accusations to be made.
How Digital Fingerprints can be Used Against You
At the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Cyber Crime Center, there is an increasing amount of attention being paid to the role of digital fingerprints in apprehending suspects. Locally and throughout the country, data has been used in identifying suspects and obtaining convictions These cases do not simply focus on internet crimes. Digital footprints can also be used in regards to the following charges:
- Murder, assault, domestic violence, and other violent crimes;
- Sexual assault, rape, and child pornopraphy;
- Theft crimes, including robbery and fraud;
- So called ‘white collar’ crimes, such as embezzlement and RICO violations.
It is important to note that digital footprints are not foolproof. You could end up being mistaken for a crime due to hackers, other people using your devices, or as a result of being set up.
Request a Consultation with Our Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Attorneys
Digital footprints can result in criminal charges. If you have been falsely accused of a crime based on this or other types of evidence, reach out to Zimmerman & Associates today. Contact our Norcross criminal defense attorneys online to request a consultation.