The Apple Watch Series 4 fall detection has the potential to be a life-saver. But it could also land you in prison, depending on the circumstances. If you’re doing something illegal, an accidental 911 call to the police means they can enter your home without a warrant.
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The Cupertino outfit has recently announced the latest iteration of its smartwatch. In addition to the ECG sensor, one of its most talked about features is fall detection. This has been made possible by improvements in the accelerometer and gyroscope which can now sample motion data 8 times faster.
Fall detection is off by default unless you are 65 or over. Apple says this is because high impact activity can appear to be a fall for some people. But anyone can enable the functionality via the Apple Watch app on their smartphone. Simply tap on My Watch/Emergency SOS and toggle Fall Detection on.
There is more than one way to trip, slip or fall and Series 4 can identify a number of them based on your wrist trajectory and impact acceleration. As early user tests have shown, the watch won’t do a perfect job but it will detect certain instances when you’ve had an accident. The watch will then ask if you are ok and give you option to contact emergency. If you don’t respond within 1 minute, it will initiate an emergency call for you.
There is one thing you should be aware of, though. Privacy watchdogs have warned that calling 911 gives police the option to enter your home without a warrant. For most people this will not present much of a problem. But as Elizabeth Joh a law profession at the University of California at Davis points out, if you’re engaged in some sort of illegal activity it could land you in jail.
Consider: your watch (accidentally) alerts the police to check on you: 4th Amend. community caretaking exception means they can enter your home w/o a warrant. Plain view means they may seize contraband/evidence of a crime. Nice work, guys.
— Elizabeth Joh (@elizabeth_joh) September 12, 2018
This means a lawyer can’t argue that the police illegally searched your home. After all it was you, or more precisely the device sitting on your wrist, that called them.
Considering Apple is big on privacy it will be interesting to see if it makes any change to the functionality. At the moment, if you’re 65 or over there is no option for switching off the feature. An interesting option would be the ability to automatically dial a user-determined contact rather than emergency services.
Then again, you could just steer clear of illegal activity and all will be fine!
Source: Cult of Mac
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