Security experts are worried that the increasing number of devices connected to the internet are a gift to cyber criminals, but in a twist worthy of any good crime novel, these smart devices could actually help the police solve crimes.
Detectives are being trained to inspect the digital footprints left behind at crime scenes on Internet of Things devices, the head of the Metropolitan Police Service's digital, cyber and communications forensics unit has said.
“Wireless cameras within a device such as the fridge may record the movement of suspects and owners,” Mark Stokes told The Times.
“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. A £3,000 fridge with a built-in family hub in it will soon be £400.”
But the brave new world of crime fighting will not be all plane sailing for authorities. It was revealed at the end of the year that a police force in the US sought information potentially recorded by an Amazon Echo in a murder case. Amazon did not comply with the request in a similar vain to Apple, which hit headlines by denying a request by the FBI to unlock the encrypted iPhone of the man who killed 14 people in a mass shooting in San Bernadino, California, last year.
The stance by Apple was backed by other major tech companies and both cases highlight the difficult line between privacy and security faced by the tech industry.