Data From Smartwatch Help Investigators Solve The Case Of The Stabbing That Never Happened

from the regular-wikipedia-browns-these-guys dept

Once again, another crime has been solved with the help of smart devices that shows "going dark" is mainly just an FBI product it's having trouble moving in such a sunshine-y market.

Third party apps and a surveillance camera allowed investigators to solve one crime (by determining it never happened) and charge someone for the crime that actually happened. [via Slashdot]

A 26-year-old man faked his own stabbing at the West Bloomfield synagogue where he worked and then reported he was attacked because of his Jewish faith, authorities say.

Now Sean Samitt is facing a felony charge of filing a false police report, according to West Bloomfield Police.

Samitt claimed to have been attacked while leaving work at the Temple Kol Ami. Supposedly the attackers stabbed him while yelling things about "you Jews" and "too many immigrants." Investigators were unable to find a weapon, blood, or any other evidence of the crime in the parking lot that Samitt claimed the attack took place.

What they were able to find was a security camera attached to a house across the street that captured the crime that never happened. When they confronted Samitt with this, his story changed. He hadn't actually been hate crimed. Instead, he claimed he had passed out (due to an unnamed health condition) while doing dishes at the synagogue.

He then claimed that this was kind of a hate crime as well, because he had been "harassed" about his medical condition at the synagogue and felt compelled to create a cover story for his inability to do dishes without losing consciousness.

Sometimes the best surveillance is the surveillance we inflict upon ourselves.

Officers were able to obtain information from Samitt's cellphone health application that was synced to his Apple Watch, confirming he did not lose consciousness. Samitt then admitted to intentionally stabbing himself.

A wealth of data about people's lives is generated daily by anyone carrying a smartphone or wearing a smartwatch. Device encryption is only preventing investigators from seeing a very small slice of that. Almost every third party app generates records law enforcement can obtain from developers or in the multiple clouds storing data and communications. The few communication options that are completely locked down may impede a handful of investigations. But for the most part, law enforcement is coming out ahead in the so-called tech war, years after device encryption became a standard offering.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: data, evidence, sean samitt, smartwatch, stabbing, west bloomfield

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread

  1. identicon
    Michael, 10 Jan 2020 @ 6:53am

    What they were able to find was a security camera attached to a house across the street that captured the crime that never happened

    Probably a Ring camera purposely pointed at a place of worship using facial recognition to identify the people that go there.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat

Warning: include(/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/ failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/ on line 8

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/..') in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/ on line 8
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.