UPDATE: The Court of Appeal has released its decision here.
The Court found that there was a reasonable expectation of privacy in energy consumption data. Going forward, law enforcement will have to obtain judicial authorization before asking hydro companies for residential energy records.
What This Case is About
Currently, hydro companies treat suspected cannabis growers as though they have no privacy. The hydro companies send hydro consumption records to the police without a warrant or a court order. How does it happen? The police send an email to the hydro company asking for your private records and the hydro companies send the police everything they want. You are told nothing. You find out when the police break down your door.
If this case succeeds on November 7, 2016. 10th Court. at theCourt of Appeal for Ontario, then this practice will stop. Help us stop the hydro companies.
What Do Smart Meters Reveal
Every home in Ontario is obliged to have smart meters.
Smart meter records are particularly adept at revealing the presence of cannabis gardens. Cannabis growing requires a fairly unique light cycle of 18 hours light and 6 hours dark which then must switch to 12 hours light and 12 hours dark in order to initiate flowering. Even if a grower tries to disguise the 12 hours of light during the night the police know that energy consumption does not normally rise overnight. If the police see high usage overnight then that is often treated as evidence of a cannabis garden.
Smart meter records also reveal when a person wakes up in the morning, when they leave for work, when they come home, when they have dinner, when they go to bed, and when they go on holidays.
Smart meters indicate when smart appliances are turned on and when they are turned off. Smart appliances include thermostats, stoves, washers, dryers, fridges, dishwashers, freezers, microwaves, light controllers, smoke and fire sensors, carbon monoxide sensors and home security systems.
Smart meters have the potential to indicate when all your appliances are being run. Non-Intrusive Appliance Load Monitoring (“NILM”) technology uses algorithms to disaggregate collected data into individual load signatures. In other words, NILM technology can reveal the electrical devices or appliances being used in a home.
The Supreme Court of Canada has said that privacy is necessary for democracy, liberty, and the well-being of the individual. Privacy facilitates public order. However, sometimes it is necessary to fight for your privacy. This is one of those times. Help us fight for the Smart Meter Right to Privacy Charter Challenge at the Court of Appeal for Ontario, November 7, 2016. 10th Court.
Privacy relates to individuals. Four dimensions of privacy are considered:
(1) personal information—any information relating to an individual, who can be identified, directly or indirectly, by that information and in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his or her physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural, locational or social identity;
(2) personal privacy—the right to control the integrity of one’s own body;
(3) behavioral privacy—the right of individuals to make their own choices about what they do and to keep certain personal behaviors from being shared with others; and
(4) personal communications privacy—the right to communicate without undue surveillance, monitoring, or censorship.
Smart Meter Companies Admit: We’re Spying On You
Former CIA Director David Petraeus once stated that WiFi-connected devices, [such as smart meters] found inside many homes, will “transform the art of spying.” Petraeus also said that spies will be capable of monitoring Americans without going inside the home or perhaps even acquiring a warrant. He went on to state that remote control radio frequency identification devices, “energy harvesters,” sensor networks, and small embedded severs all connected to an Internet network will be all that is necessary for clandestine intelligence gathering.
Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides everyone in Canada with protection against unreasonable search and seizure. This right provides Canadians with their primary source of constitutionally enforced privacy rights against unreasonable intrusion from the state. Typically, this protects personal information that can be obtained through entering someone’s property or surveillance.
Edwin is a 55-year-old Ojibway, Bear Clan. He is on a medical disability. He has chronic arthritis.
Carmen is a 65-year- old grandmother who suffers from arthritic degenerative disk disease, fibromyalgia, sciatica, alpha wave intrusion sleep anomaly, erosive gastritis and chronic nausea among other conditions. Despite chronic pain, she supports herself with the assistance of her family and by teaching workshops, guiding traditional spiritual healing practices, and one-on-one counseling.
Many kind and respected people have written letters of character on their behalf, which were passed on to the Hon. Justice Arrell. The letters say that they are good, generous and sincere spiritual human beings striving to be helpful and that they contribute to society in the ways that are open to them. They describe their years of work as volunteers for many fundraisers, traditional healing events and ceremonies and how they still help others despite their tribulations.
Today they have Medical Access to Marijuana certifications, which were very difficult to obtain when the “offence” was committed. They have completed their sentence, but they proceeded with the Appeal because they consider the privacy intrusions of the Smart Meter an important issue.