In what is apparently a legal first, data from a wearable fitness tracker will be used as evidence in court as part of a Canadian personal injury lawsuit. Calgary lawyers are representing a woman who was injured in an accident four years ago. They will submitting data from her FitBit to show how her physical abilities have been limited since the accident, with data showing that her activity levels are now lower than the average person of her age.
Data from a wearable health tracker has never before been offered as evidence in a Canadian court. Civil litigation lawyer Matthew Pearn of Foster & Company said the question for the judge will be how probative, or trustworthy, information from the fitness tracker will be.
"I think that with a good explanation of the technology, it's quite possible that a judge might find it reliable, something they can use as a guide to show what limits she has following some form of accident that's affected her life."
Fitness trackers collect a wide swath of data, depending on the type and brand, including distance traveled, speed, heart rate and blood pressure. Users can upload that data to a number of apps or online programs and include more information, such as diet, weight and mood, to paint a thorough portrait of his or her health status, i.e. a black box for the human body, providing incredible insight into the health, lifestyle and behavior of the wearer.
Employers, health insurers and even certain retailers (for customer loyalty programs) have shown interest in collecting health and fitness information about individuals. In this light, perhaps it is not a surprise that self-tracking data is also of interest to those involved in various types of legal proceedings.