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Apple Health data is being used as evidence in a rape and murder investigation in Germany

The same week that the director of the FBI has complained about the encryption , after not being able to access more than half of the devices that his agency tried to unblock, various data contained in the defendant’s iPhone 4S are being used as evidence in a trial on the rape and murder of a 19 year old student in October 2016.

The investigators of the case wanted to analyze the information contained in the device of the presumed perpetrator, Hussein K., an Afghan citizen refugee in Freiburg, but he refused to provide them with the unlocking code. As recounted in court one of the policemen, the phone was delivered to a Munich specializing in gaining access to terminals and, after several months, managed to unlock it.

The biggest witness could be Apple Health

The official explained in detail how they compared the geodata stored on the iPhone with some video images and could understand the movements of the accused, placing him near the crime scene by contacting the device with a telephone tower in the area. Then they noticed that for a long period of time it seems that nothing happened . Only an hour and a few minutes later, the phone connected again with a tower.

It was at that moment when they decided to take a look at the data of Apple Health, the health application that was added to all the iPhone with the launch of iOS 8 in 2014. In the period of time when they did not know what happened, Health recorded that stairs were climbed twice. For the researchers, this data reflects the moment in which Hussein K. dragged the unconscious victim to the edge of the Dreisam River, where he drowned, and then climbed back up.

To ensure this deduction, investigators sent an investigator of the same stature to the crime scene as the alleged perpetrator and the iPhone in question. The tests carried out around the shore confirmed the police investigation into the body drag and showed that the defendant could have sexually abused his victim.

It is not the first time that a digital evidence thus enters a judicial process and surely will not be the last. Only a few months ago, in October, a man was charged with murder based on part of the evidence in the data obtained from a FitBit device. In 2014, the data collected by another FitBit wristband was also used in a trial . As happened with the recording of an alleged murder by an Amazon Echo a year ago, the debate surrounding the use of certain data is reopened.


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