Canadian Supreme Court Says Police Can Spy on Power Use

CANNABIS CULTURE – The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that police can obtain household power records and attach digital recording devices to suspected grow homes to track electricity usage patterns as part of pre-warrant investigations.

On Wednesday, November 24, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled 7-2 to overturn an earlier ruling by the Alberta Court of Appeal concluding that police had violated the rights of Daniel Gomboc when, in 2007, after smelling the scent of marijuana coming from his house (while investigating an unrelated issue in his neighborhood), they installed a “digital recording ammeter” (DRA) with the help of the power company.

“I expect that the reasonable, informed citizen would be gravely concerned, and would object to the state being allowed to use a utility to spy on a homeowner in this way,” the court of appeal said in a 2-1 ruling.

Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision overturned that ruling and found that police did not breach the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure because the information provided by the power company, Enmax, didn’t include personal information about Gomboc’s lifestyle.

“The DRA is a technique that reveals nothing about the intimate or core personal activities of the occupants,” Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps wrote for the majority. “It reveals nothing but one particular piece of information: the consumption of electricity.”

Deschamps made clear that Canadians can expect some level of privacy in the home, but that privacy has limits.

“As is true of all constitutional rights, the Charter’s protection of territorial privacy in the home is not absolute,” she wrote. “The Constitution does not cloak the home in an impenetrable veil of privacy. To expect such protection would not only be impractical; it would also be unreasonable.”

Police are already permitted to obtain electricity records, but the DRA device is a new addition that, according to press reports, gives authorities “accurate information on the amount of utility usage in the various rooms of the house.”

Daniel Gomboc was arrested with over 165 kilograms of cannabis and convicted of growing and trafficking.

In 2009, the Alberta appeal court reversed the decision, ordering a new trial for Gomboc, saying the power company had been “co-opted” by police for “a form of surreptitious electric surveillance”. That decision was overtuned Wednesday.

Though four of the Judges agreed with Deschamps, three others sided with an alternative opinion written by Justice Rosalie Abella, which acknowledged privacy concerns but supported the conviction.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Justice Morris Fish were the only full dissenters, warning that the use of DRAs by police without warrants is “an incremental but ominous step toward the erosion of the right to privacy.”

This isn’t the first time the court has ruled to limit privacy in Canada.

In December 2009, the court found Canadians do not have the right to privacy of their curbside garbage. Police, since 2004, have also been allowed to use “infra-red” scanning devices to make searches.



  1. Anonymous on

    hahahah wanted to say the same thing haha

  2. mean_jake on

    The supreme corrupt body of the harper regime has spoken, your nation is allowed to spy on its citizens via any means needed. but in reality they have every body of government is corrupt in this country…andhas been for a long long time.

  3. Anonymous on

    you are a f*king idiot! shut up!

  4. Anonymous on


  5. Anonymous on

    Jesus Christ didn’t have cars, witchcraft.

    Well maybe there was a people, most arrogant and iggnorant in Jesus of Nazareth’s time.

    On this world, that are still here today.

    The most greedy, uncaring, hatful, lustful, seducing, illusions. sacraficial, fake reality. Kind of people.

    First of all STICKS AND STONES don’t break bones, bullets do. 3 inch U.S. Army P90 bullets do.
    These days WORDS CAN BE FILTHTY.

    Maggick/ satanism isn’t real.

    Isn’t the atmosphere around us, constantly making people not be better than they are.

    Ever see the bugs bunny cartoon Where Granny puts a pie on the window still and Salvester trys to steal it?

    Thats like when you have a really good idea, and you forget it.
    Blame maggick, and spirits from 100s of years ago.

  6. Anonymous on

    I know my comments may be a little off topic.

    But have more meaning than any pot smoking idiot.

    Or any political scarface.

    And isn’t as misleading as the poor-mindstate north americans have.

    That no one can be better. Unless they’ve died and gone to heaven.

    And don’t hang on Christianity, for drug legalization.
    If you don’t know Jesus personally, your just mocking a man of faith. For even mentioning his name, when today/ our time is so unholy.
    We could never match the life Jesus Christ, has lived.

  7. Anonymous on

    Racism and slavery is immoral. Just like war.

    We should destroy all firearms.

    Not live by a code of silence, firearms has created.

    Or the panic and disturbances firearms has created in streets.

    Where the innocent children who have gotten shot, lay deceased.

    Our youth are suppose to be better, not continuing to be the same as the past.

  8. Anonymous on

    I don’t think Marc and Jodie want to help or fight for canada anymore…

    Now that their under American jurisdiction. Their body, mind and soul is like the new Mad Mothers Against Cannabis.

    The canadian government should be more lateral, like California.
    And give prescribtions for marijuana for anything.

    Like PMS, why?
    Because PMS has made this world gone wrong.

    Nude women has made this world go wrong, not marijuana.

    Women your body is your temple, if most young women have sexual intercourse with every guy they see or any guy. From the bias life’s settings television has cursed these young womens mind with.

    You think people know, don’t trust anything on television. Instead people worship the television.

    Firstly it’s a projected image, through many pixels.
    Not really what you see out of your eyes.

    Young women of todays PMS make them so crazy, they think they know everyone.
    And judge elders on looks, personality traits some may like.

    Young women of today rather a sleezy guy instead of a romantic relationship.

    I know GOD’s one mistake, is creating Eve/ Women/ Lust.

    With out women, America wouldn’t go to war.

    With out women, the world wouldn’t be drooling over women, with alcohol.

  9. Anonymous on

    It’s you buy pot worldwide, you don’t grow it.

    Which pot smoking idiot, grows the shit. To get caught.

    Lets leave growing pot to the Canadian government. For scientist to study and when their done studying the pounds of marijuana.

    Don’t be wasteful and iggnorant let most of the people in this world, and sell that shit!

    Well theres an exception for Amsterdam, Holland. Because they honestly got the best pot in the world. You just go to any coffee shop.

    America and Canadas always dragging their dirty weedheads along, with the worst marijuana in the world, fighting over drug laws.

    If your going to do something, do it right or DONT DO ANYTHING AT ALL.

    Its like a hard labour job, dont just do what you want and ignore all others.
    Because then you’ll screw up, do the job twice. AND COMPLAIN.

    If you haven’t noticed alot of rich business men, have alot of say with their money over marijuana. They think only African Americans smoke pot.

    But it’s everywhere.

    America just blames every other country for marijuana.

    While america is loaded with more drugs than any other place.
    From cocaine to lsd, to extacy.

    Theres been many reports of crooked cops, taking drugs out the evidence room.

    In some cases there’s been crooked cops, who work with gang members.

  10. Anonymous on

    Since law enforcement relies on the scent of marijuana to detect grow ops, cannabis advocates need to create a cannabis essential oil or perfume that could be used to confuse law enforcement. If the smell of cannabis is everywhere then law enforcement will have a difficult time getting a warrant or to have a DRA installed. Of course there is a chance that a grow op could be discovered due to the false scent, but hey, making it harder for law enforcement to act may be worth the risk. Spray some on wood shavings and spread them in parks, shopping mall, etc.

    Imagine the fun you could have with canine pot sniffers.

    Just a thought…

  11. MOTFA on

    if you let a cop in your house (first mistake) and you don’t use carbon filter or something to mask smell (second mistake) then the grower is the fucking dumb ass not the cop.

    besides the only thing growers are going to learn from this article is that they have to grow more weed (some during day, some at night) to keep the power stable, so congratulations you supreme court idiots, you accomplished nothing.

  12. Anonymous on

    What they look for is 12 hour cycles so they can make the ludicrous claim that such cycles would indicate Cannabis being flowered. Well, Chrysanthemums are short day plants too and so are tobacco plants. It’s perfectly legal to grow tobacco for personal use. Maybe you don’t want to pay the high prices for retail tobacco. Grow lights are also perfectly legal. How then does a 12/12 power cycle indicate Cannabis growing?

    Anyway, all you have to do is split your garden into two parts and have a light mover to move the lights over half of it for 12 hours and then over the other half for the next 12 hours. You wouldn’t want separate lights turning on and off because the power surge when the ballasts start up would probably be detectable. If the lights are on continuously and simply being moved back and forth then there would be no surges. Also, by splitting the garden in two like that you are only running half as much power at any one time. What I mean is that if you were running 2 1000w lights for 12 hours then the DRA will show 2000w being used while they are turned on, a rather high amount. If split in two then you are only running 1000w at any point in time. You need only half as many lamps too so you save money on hardware. Of course it would take some ingenuity to design such a system so that the light is excluded as much as possible from whichever side is in its night cycle. Actually, though, if the cops are at the point of monitoring your power meter then you’re pretty much toast anyway, one way or another. It will just take them a little longer to get enough for the warrant.

  13. Anonymous on

    “The DRA is a technique that reveals nothing about the intimate or core personal activities of the occupants,” Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps wrote for the majority. “It reveals nothing but one particular piece of information: the consumption of electricity.”

    That’s bullshit. You can deduce lots about the lifestyle and personal activities of the occupants based on the power consumption. like when they take showers, when they use their stoves, when they turn on their televisions, and the light cycle of their grow-room(s).

    I can’t believe a supreme court justice would rule in such a way what a gross violation of personal privacy…