by James Aguilan

Household technology appliances such as washing machines and fridges will soon be used by law enforcement to gather evidence from crime scenes. The arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT) in which more devices are connected could in future provide important clues in forensic investigations. Law enforcement agencies are being trained to look for IoT devices which could provide a 'digital footprint' of victims or criminals.

Wireless cameras within a device, such as fridge, may record the movement of owners and suspects. Doorbells that connect directly to mobile applications on a user’s phone can show who has rung the door and the owner or other households may then remotely, if they choose, give controlled access to the premises while away from the property. All these leave a log file and a trace of activity. The crime scene of tomorrow is going to be the internet of things. The new Samsung Family Hub Fridge has cameras that carry a live feed of its contents, so shoppers can tell what they need when they are out at the shop. The dates and times that people logon to the fridge, therefore could provide alibis or prove people were not were they said they were. Forensic examiners can carry a ‘digital forensics toolkit’ which would allow them to analyse microchips, known as ‘chip off analysis’, and download data at the scene, rather than removing devices for testing.

Law enforcement have come up against opposition from companies making the gadgets, who are concerned about the privacy of their customers. At this time, Amazon are fighting requests by the authorities to hand over recordings from one of its Echo home entertainment systems belonging to James Andrew Bates. Law Enforcement are investigating the murder of Victor Collins who was found dead at James Bates hot tub in 2015. They have already taken evidence from an electric water meter, which appears to show that a huge amount of water was used. Lead Investigators stated it could have been to wash blood away from the patio. The Echo delivers weather forecasts, controls thermostats and light switches, and plays music. But it also has artificial intelligence and improves over time based on the owner’s voices so could provide insight into what happened on the night of Victor Collins death.

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