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VWN News: Rise of personal technology in criminal proceedings poses risks to individuals' rights
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 Rise of personal technology in criminal proceedings poses risks to individuals' rights

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Date posted: 12/01/2017

Personal technology such as fitness trackers and smartphones that record users' daily activities are likely to be used increasingly in criminal investigations, raising questions about individuals' rights that the legal system is not yet fully prepared to address, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Information such as location, travel patterns and even physiological details such as heart rate and activity levels could be retrieved from devices as a part of criminal investigations. Such technology offers new tools to law enforcement, but raises unique issues regarding important constitutional rights such as self-incrimination, according to the report.

Courtrooms also are poised to change because of technology, with teleconferencing, digital records and even virtual reality entering the scene -- all intended to speed up proceedings and reduce the cost to the justice system. These technologies raise issues of fairness for defendants and may change the notion of whether a trial by videoconference is equal to proceedings where everyone appears in person, according to the report.

"When changes are gradual, the law and the criminal justice systems have time to react and adapt naturally as conflicts appear," said Brian Jackson, lead author of the study and a physical scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "But new technologies are developing rapidly and are likely to create conflicts before the legal system is fully prepared to deal with them."

The researchers say working through the issues surrounding new technologies outside the pressure of a public safety crisis is needed to better balance the value of using technologies in investigations versus the potential infringements on privacy and individual rights.

See the full Story via external site: www.sciencedaily.com



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