Halifax Water’s smart meters raising privacy concerns
New smart meters being rolled out by Halifax’s water utility may be just a bit too smart for some homeowners.
The meters collect information about usage every few minutes. They feed data to a box outside the house, which transmits it to collector points every six minutes. It all winds up in servers controlled by Halifax Water.
"I understand why people are worried about it, especially in today's age where you hear a lot and read a lot about data breaches," says Cathie O’Toole, CFO of Halifax Water.
Halifax Water updated council on Tuesday while discussing its business plan. Councillor Richard Zurawski admitted he wasn't thrilled with the idea of information being collected and stored about his water usage.
“I have an appointment with Halifax Water to put a smart meter in, and I'm digging my heels in. I don't want that in there because I just don't know enough about it," Zurawski told council Tuesday.
The utility insists all of its data is restricted and compartmentalized.
"We protect our data with encryption and proprietary protocols,” says O’Toole. “Any data we collect resides on servers that are inside Canada, and in some cases, actually inside Halifax Water under our own control."
O’Toole says if a hacker did get in, they wouldn’t get far.
"All they would get would be a string of numbers that would make no sense to them because it wouldn't have any context,” she says.
Halifax Water is hoping to install more than 84,000 smart meters in a two-year period.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.