Thanks to the pace at which the Internet of Things (IoT) is developing, our washing machines and refrigerators might soon do more than just wash our clothes and keep our food from soiling respectively. According to experts, high-tech washing machines and fridges can soon be used by detectives for gathering evidences from crime scenes.
The world of IoT has opened a world where we can automate, protect, and monitor our houses like never before. One can now keep any eye on their toddlers in house while out for work, protect the house from theft, integrate their home theater system and even reduce the money spent on energy consumption. Yes, all this and a lot more can now happen, all thanks to IoT.
This very ‘Internet of Things’ in which more and more devices are connected together in a world of ‘smart working’ holds the potential of providing a helping hand to police/detectives in terms of gathering important clues for crime scenes.
A number of detectives are currently undergoing training to be able to search for gadgets and white goods that could provide a ‘digital footprint’ of victims or criminals involved in a crime.
According to a statement given by Mark Stokes, the head of the digital, cyber and communications forensics unit at the Metropolitan Police to The Times, wireless cameras within a device, such as a fridge, might soon be able to record the movement of owners and suspects.
He further added, “Doorbells that connect directly to apps on a user’s phone can show who has rung the door and the owner or others may then remotely, if they choose, to give controlled access to the premises while away from the property.”
“All these leave a log and a trace of activity. The crime scene of tomorrow is going to be the internet of things,” he concluded.
It is important to note that fridges with cameras have already become a reality. Samsung’s Family Hub Fridge comes with cameras that carries a live feed of all its contents, so the owners can easily know what they need when they are out to grocery shop. The time and date logs of when people logon to the fridge could end up providing alibis or prove that people were not exactly were they said they were during the time of the crime.
Mr Stokes predicts that the police/detectives of the future would be carrying a ‘digital forensics toolkit’ with them 24×7, which would allow them to analyse microchips and download data right at the crime scene, rather than removing the devices altogether for the purpose of testing.
However, some experts feels that the police could encounter a strong opposition from the manufacturers of the gadgets, who will be having concerns regarding their customers’ privacy.
Currently, in the United States, Amazon is fighting requests by the authorities to hand over the recordings from one of its Echo home entertainment systems belonging to a murder suspect, James Andrew Bates.
In 2015, Victor Collins, the victim, was found dead in Mr Bates’ hot tub. The officers have already collected evidence from an electric water meter, which shows that a huge amount of water was used. The detectives think that the water could have been used to wash Victor Collins’ blood from the patio.
Amazon’s Echo home entertainment controls thermostats and light switches, plays music and delivers weather forecasts. It has an artificial intelligence (AI) that improves over a period of time based on its owner’s voices. Hence, the officers investigating the case believe that the device could help provide insights into what exactly happened on the night of Mr Collins’ death.