Right to Privacy
Harrington Matthew P.
matthew.p.harrington at umontreal.ca
Thu Nov 25 07:56:30 PST 2010
Yesterday, the Canada Supreme Court held that the right to privacy in one's home is not absolute. In R. v. Gomboc, the Court upheld the conviction of a man accused of running a commercial marijuana growing operation in his home (a "grow op"). Police enlisted the help of the Alberta Power Company to monitor the man's electrical usage to ascertain if he was using an amount of power that would indicate a large growing operation. They installed a digital monitor on the power line running to the house to determine the usage patterns. (Needless to say, they quickly concluded that the man was using an amount of electricity far in excess of a normal householder.)
Somewhat, surprisingly, the Court declared that "the right to privacy in the home was not absolute" and that there was no right of "informational privacy" in the electrical usage records.
The case is causing some interesting debate in the North. Not being a criminal law expert (by a long shot), I am wondering if there is any parallel theory or case in the U.S. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
University of Montreal
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