Police Can Use Your “Smart Home” Data Against You

leifertlaw June 23, 2014 Florida Law Enforcement

Florida Criminal Defense Attorney

Large tech businesses produce products and services that we rely on each and every day, including smart phones, home security systems, and wireless communications programs. Moreover, these all converge in a relatively new creation by companies such as AT&T, Apple and Google, known as the “Smart Home,” which allows people to turn off the lights, lock the doors and view security camera footage all remotely from their mobile phones.

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that while so-called “Smart home” configurations can prove useful and interesting to the people who own them, they can also end up being used against their owners in legal proceedings.

For instance, video security footage is stored on the manufacturing tech company’s servers; once it is on there, regardless of the fact that it reveals intimate details about the inside of your home, law enforcement agencies contact the tech companies and request access to the data (including video footage) that they have.

According to an article by CNN, Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union noted, “we’re seeing law enforcement … arguing that they should be able to access information with lower standards than before the electronic age.” As the “electronic age” expands and the number of technological tools that we use multiplies, more and more private information is digitized and made available to those who want to find it. If you are a suspect in a crime, police departments might want to peek into your home via your home security footage, to check-up on potentially suspicious activity, thereby exposing your home and destroying your privacy.

That law enforcement agencies request information on private citizens from technology companies is nothing new – for years, the government has been sending in thousands and thousands of requests for things such as email and phone records. Video footage can reveal even more – it can show what you do in your home, who visits your home, when you are in your home, etc. Government agencies are given the right to such information by way of either a warrant or a subpoena; the former being granted when there is “probable cause” to believe that there’s specific evidence to be sought that may be related to a crime, the latter being issued if the information sought is relevant to an investigation.

Protecting your house and your family should always be a first priority. Relatedly, protecting their privacy and security is also important. If and when you decide to set-up a “Smart Home” security system, make sure that you carefully read the terms of agreement. Exposing yourself to break-ins is always a bad idea, but exposing yourself to constant surveillance can be just as costly.

If you have any questions about how your home security system can be used against you in a criminal proceeding, contact our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers. To schedule a free consultation, 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363).

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