Man suspected in wife’s murder after her Fitbit data doesn’t match his alibi

Fitbit data ‘is a great tool for investigators to use’, the district attorney said.

Excerpt from this article:

Dabate told police that a masked assailant came into the couple’s suburban home at around 9am on 23 December 2015 and subdued Dabate with “pressure points” before shooting his wife, Connie Dabate, with a gun that Richard Dabate owned. He said that the man killed his wife as she returned through their garage from a workout at the local YMCA. Dabate claimed that he eventually chased the assailant off with a blowtorch.

But the Fitbit tells a different story. According to data from the device, which uses a digital pedometer to track the wearer’s steps, Connie Dabate was moving around for more than an hour after her husband said the murder took place. Not just that – it also showed she had traveled more than 1,200ft after arriving home, contrary to Dabate’s story that she was killed as she arrived. The distance from her vehicle to the location she died is “no more than 125ft”, according to police documents.


What the Kitty Genovese Killing Can Teach Today’s Digital Bystanders

Excerpt from this article, which is accompanied by a documentary film:

…the story of 38 people coldly ignoring a murder beneath their windows had a life of its own. It became emblematic of big-city apathy. The terms “bystander effect” and “Kitty Genovese syndrome” entered the language.

…“You think that if there are many people who are witness to something that other people certainly already have done something — why should it be me?”

…In the age of social media and instant communication, the potential rises for a Kitty Genovese syndrome on steroids.

A Murder Case Tests Alexa’s Devotion to Your Privacy

Excerpt from this article:

Arkansas police recently demanded that Amazon turn over information collected from a murder suspect’s Echo. Amazon’s attorneys contend that the First Amendment’s free speech protection applies to information gathered and sent by the device; as a result, Amazon argues, the police should jump through several legal hoops before the company is required to release your data.

… Let’s look at a few scenarios. These are more or less specific to Amazon’s technology and policies, but variants could apply to Google Home or other digital assistants. This brings up a more basic question: Do you have to give informed consent to be recorded each time you enter my Alexa-outfitted home? Do I have to actively request your permission? And who, at Amazon or beyond, gets to see what tendencies are revealed by your Alexa commands? Amazon claims you can permanently delete the voice recordings, though wiping them degrades performance. Even if you’re smart enough to clear your browser history, are you smart enough to clear this, too? And what about the transcripts?

Another question: How do you know when your digital assistant is recording what you say? Amazon provides several ways to activate the recording beyond the “wake” word. A light on the Echo turns blue to indicate audio is streaming to the cloud. After the request is processed, the audio feed is supposed to close. You can also set the device to play a sound when it stops streaming your audio, but what happens if the device is hacked or modified to keep recording?

Case Study: Social Savvy Burglar

Excerpt from this article:

Describing himself as a “nerd burglar,” he breaks into a couple’s home while they’re away and sells their stuff on the internet.

The campaign taps into a growing phenomenon of social media-savvy burglars. A 2011 U.K. study by Friedland, a home-security company, found that 78% of ex-burglars admitted to using social media to find targets. More than $16 billion a year is lost in property crimes, according to a 2013 FBI report.

…The story unfolded over eight ads that premiered during the Allstate Sugar Bowl, which aired on ESPN. The infomercial-style spots push an e-commerce site developed by Allstate where people could buy replica items from virtually every room in the Moskal’s home, including a blender, TV, weed wacker and their car. And they’re all at “Mayhemically-reduced” prices — dirt-cheap.

See also this case study video.