One of the foundations of law in most civilised countries is the right of the accused to remain silent in order to avoid incriminating themselves. Such a stance then leaves the onus on the authorities to prove the guilt or otherwise of the accused. Such an approach to criminal proceedings may have let a few bad guys get away with their crimes over the century but I think, on the whole, that it is a fair and workable situation that leads to a certain level of justice.
Of course no such rights belong to non-humans which seems equally sensible, though obviously problematic for a Florida man who stands accused of killing his roommate.
Pedro Bravo allegedly used his iPhone’s personal assistant Siri to help him dispose of Christian Aguilar’s body in 2012. According to prosecutors, Bravo invoked Siri’s assistance by saying “I need to hide my roommate” on the very day that Aguilar was said to have been murdered on.
The ever-helpful Apple assistant is said to have asked for clarification by saying “What kind of place are you looking for” before suggesting swamps, reservoirs, dumps and metal foundries.
Such a query, combined with further data from the iPhone which show that Bravo used the flashlight nine times that evening, between 11.31pm and 12.01am, make up part of the prosecution’s case against him. Furthermore, internal GPS data contradicts Bravo’s claims as to where he was on the night of the murder, according to the prosecution.
The ongoing trial sees prosecutors attempting to make a case that Bravo murdered Aguilar in his car after the pair went out together to purchase a CD. It is said that Aquilar had been dating Bravo’s ex-girlfriend.
Whilst the outcome of the case is obviously important to all those connected with it, it also send out a message to everyone else, whether they have criminal intentions or not – iPhones, iPads, Android devices, smart gear and all manner of other devices can and do record a huge volume of data about you, your actions and your movements. Even though you are not a murderer (I hope!), you do need to be aware of the fact that the data your devices log can be extremely significant, especially when all the minor details are put together to form a larger picture (here’s looking at you Mr. Government).
So what are you doing to ensure that your data remains safe? And what dumb questions have you asked of Siri today?