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Ohio man’s pacemaker data may betray him in arson, insurance fraud case

Beth Mole
Betraying your heart in a relationship may be a worthwhile gamble. In insurance fraud cases, not so much.
A Middletown, Ohio man was indicted on arson and insurance fraud charges after police reviewed data collected from his pacemaker, as well as other evidence. On Tuesday, the man, Ross Compton, pleaded not guilty to setting his home on fire on September 19.
According to the Associated Press, Compton told police that upon seeing that a fire had broken out in his house, he hurriedly packed some items in a suitcase and bags, busted a window with his walking cane, tossed the stuff out the window, rushed out of the house, and carried all the stuff to his car. He also mentioned to the cops that he had an artificial heart.
Suspicious, the police sought a warrant for Compton’s pacemaker data, which they later described as some of the “key pieces of evidence.”
Pacemakers monitor and help control the heart’s rhythm. The data reviewed by police from the night of the fire would reveal Compton’s heart rate, the activity level of the pacemaker, and heart rhythms. A cardiologist who reviewed the data said that it was “highly improbable” that Compton had carried out all of the activity he described to police the night of the fire.
As local WLWT-TV reports, authorities also found gasoline on Compton’s shoes, pants, and shirt, plus multiple origins of the fire. Authorities estimated the fire caused $400,000 worth of damages.
The AP notes that civil rights advocates are concerned about the use of such medical data in a court case, arguing that people should not have to choose between privacy and health.
Stephanie Lacambra, a criminal defense staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the AP, "We as a society value our rights to maintain privacy over personal and medical information, and compelling citizens to turn over protected health data to law enforcement erodes those rights.”
Ohio man’s pacemaker data may betray him in arson, insurance fraud case Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 12:19 AM Rating: 5

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