Smart Grid Must be Built With Privacy Embedded as the Default - Make it the First Piece: Commissioner Cavoukian

By Office Of The Information And Privacy Commissionerontario, PRNE
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

TORONTO, October 21, 2010 - Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners from around the world will be
told on Monday that the emerging Smart Grid has created a tipping point - one
that will either see privacy enhanced or eroded, in profound and perhaps
irreversible ways.

This message will be delivered by Ontario's Information and Privacy
Commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, who has organized a special "Power Morning"
seminar, Monday, October 25, in Jerusalem. The seminar - on how best to
address the potential privacy implications of the Smart Grid - is being held
just prior to the 32nd International Conference of Data Protection and
Privacy Commissioners.

"Around the world, governments and electrical companies, using
technologies like Smart Meters and smart appliances, are engaging in efforts
to modernize the electrical grid in order to become more efficient and meet
ever-growing demand," said Commissioner Cavoukian. "But left unchecked, the
Smart Grid has the potential to erode privacy, as new components will be able
to collect far more granular data about electricity consumption in the
household - from the time you go to bed, to when you shower, to when you eat,
to whether you have an electronic security system."

Cavoukian is the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Canada's largest
province, Ontario. Delegates at the Power Morning will hear about Ontario's
positive experience, where the Commissioner is working with the major
utilities to ensure that user privacy is proactively embedded into Smart Grid
technologies and infrastructure right from the outset - a concept she calls
"Privacy by Design." The benefits of this proactive, collaborative approach
will be supported by video messages from Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and
Executives from the province's Hydro One. Commissioner Cavoukian will outline
practical steps that international privacy regulators can take in their own
jurisdictions, and urge fellow Commissioners to join her in educating and
working with utilities to embed the principles of Privacy by Design directly
into the nascent Smart Grid.

The tipping point is now, stressed Commissioner Cavoukian. "Now is the
time to engage in this issue, while the Smart Grid is still in its infancy,
and while utilities are keen to maintain the existing base of consumer trust
that will be essential to the success of the future Smart Grid."

    For further information:

    Media Contact:
    Bob Spence, IPC Communications Co-ordinator
    Direct line: +1-416-326-3939
    Cell phone: +1-416-873-9746
    Toll free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0073

For further information: Media Contact: Bob Spence, IPC Communications Co-ordinator, Direct line: +1-416-326-3939, Cell phone: +1-416-873-9746, Toll free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0073, bob.spence at

will not be displayed