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Photo: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Fitbit

With the surge in popularity of fitness trackers in recent years, the devices' data collections are playing a more present role in the legal system and process, Wired writes.

The intrigue: Fitness devices like FitBit track heart rate, sleep patterns and daily activity. In the 2018 case of California woman, Karen Navarra, her FitBit detailed the last of her heartbeat as she was murdered. Using security footage, officials began to suspect Navarra's stepfather had been to Navarra's home at the time she died, and he was later arrested on murder charges.

  • Location data proved useful in a personal injury case in Canada in 2014, as well as a Pennsylvania sexual assault case in 2015, per the New York Times.
  • In 2016, FitBit data was used to eliminate a slain Wisconsin woman's live-in boyfriend as a murder suspect, Wired reports.

Between the lines: Using material collected from wearables as evidence comes with the built-in assumption that "data is equivalent to truth," Antigone Peyton, an intellectual property and technology lawyer, told Wired.

  • But, but, but ... Wired notes that: "An analysis of 67 studies on Fitbit's movement tracking concluded that the device worked best on able-bodied adults walking at typical speeds. Even then, the devices weren't perfect—they got within 10 percent of the actual number of steps a person took half of the time—and became even less accurate in counting steps when someone was resting their wrist on a walker or stroller, for example."
  • What's more: to date, no appellate court has weighed in on a case that cited the fitness tracker data.

The bottom line: "How other judges decide the validity of Fitbit information will likely continue to be decided in the slow burn of the legal system," Wired writes. There remain "many ways the information on these devices can be interpreted."

Go deeper: Genetic testing firms share your DNA data more than you think

Go deeper

27 mins ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: America looks for the exits after a year of COVID

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A year after the coronavirus abruptly shut down much of the country, Americans are watching for a clear signal of when the pandemic will be over — and most won't be ready to ditch the masks and social distancing until they get it, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: The poll found that more Americans are expecting the outbreak to be over sooner rather than later, as vaccinations ramp up throughout the country — but that very few are ready to end the precautions that have upended their lives.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
27 mins ago - Health

Many vulnerable Americans have received the coronavirus vaccine

Data: CDC, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than two-thirds of Americans 75 and older have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, as have more than half of those 65-74, per CDC data.

Why it matters: Any future surge in cases almost certainly wouldn't be as deadly as previous waves, because older people are the most likely to die from the virus.

3 hours ago - World

Report: "Clear evidence" China is committing genocide against Uyghurs

The scene in 2019 of a site believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China's northwestern Xinjiang region. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese authorities have breached "each and every act prohibited" under the UN Genocide Convention over the treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang province, an independent report published Tuesday alleges.

Why it matters: D.C. think-tank the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, which released the report, said in a statement the conclusions by dozens of experts in war crimes, human rights and international law are "clear and convincing": The ruling Chinese Communist Party bears responsibility.