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The Internet of Things

Looks like Rossland Mayor and Council has started to play in the internet of things using the new SMART water meters.

Here I thought this game was reserved large corportations for profit. I've tried to inform the city staff and council of the rules of the game, only to watch them ignore the information and hide behind their acting roles, rules and proceedures.

The first removal of the resident's freedom and privacy by the local government will be the adoption of the Outdoor Water Use Regulation Bylaw

The Public Hearing is likely to be scheduled on short notice. Maybe some type of Special weekday morning meeting similiar to how they awarded the SMART metering contract that will cost at least $750,000 over 10 years.

Just how do they anticpate on enforcing this matrix of watering rules? The degree of privacy invasions is pretty startling when combining SMART water meter data with SMART electric meter data.

Climate Action reporting is the SMART grid rationalle. It's ironic how a business that washes vehicles get's priority over someone trying to grow food. It's almost like a method of diversion or distraction is being used on us.

I encourage residents to be informed about whats coming.  Knowledge is power. Feel free to message me anytime if you'd like to learn more.

Thanks John.
Later in the last meeting you attended, council removed all commercial exemptions except farming.
You failed to mention that you were given an opt-out option (flat rate) and that you declined. This is a case of someone not willing to pay for something that is really important to them.
You failed to mention that you don't believe in climate change.
While I disagreed with previous councils decision to spend more money on a new system, and get the old one working, I agree with metering in general.
One reason is that it helps the city to find leaks in the system. There are many and it is costly in many ways, including our costs for water treatment vis-a-vis our agreement based on volume.
There is no ignoring going on. Council listens and then considers what is best for the community as a whole.
As far as playing in the IoT, council and the city is not playing. It is management using the latest tools available. There is no intention of invasion of privacy.
Scott Forsyth ( city councillor )

Thanks Scott, I genuinely appreciate you responding to this post.

It is important to hear the voices of all, so that they may be debated.  This thread is an excellent example.

Evidently you have a thorough understanding of the entire situation and I appreciate you shutting this post down. You mention that the new system will eliminate potentially massive passive costs to the city. Clearly you are doing an excellent job in your position.

To evolve the discussion towards the "IoT": I am glad that management is using the latest tools available, the internet isn't going away. It is best that the public-funded democratic goverment creates the Country's network infrastructure, rather than privately-owned corporations.

As the Internet becomes a critical component of our lives and goverment, it is important we understand and accept the risks. I would like to speak on behalf of the public. I deem that protection against inside & outside attacks, redundant protection against infrastructure failures, and privacy are the most important aspects to be considered when implementing the coming revolution. It is important that the Goverment has aides that represent these values and that the public is being educated on these values, and their intricacies, so that coming generations can adopt them.

It is also important that we all do not feel intimidated by technology. A computer is no different than a truck. It is a tool made up of components. We must embrace change and new innovation. Exempli gratia: $750,000 does seem expensive for a pile of transmitters and a piece of software that could be written in excel. I am sure there is much more to it, but let's remember not allow fear of technology to drive prices.

You can look at my water consumption anytime,

Matt P

Hi Matt P.
I agree, everyone must be careful and fully knowledgeable when opening your home to a 3rd party. Especially, when a for-profit 3rd party is contracted to do the data collection. You've heard the phrase, if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear. That is true, until somebody else thinks differently of what you're doing. This isn't Excel, this is AI.

Hi Scott.
That is great news to hear that council has removed the commercial exemption, except farming. I would have stayed at the council meeting longer. But the mayor expressed, with certainty, that council could not answer my questions, nor did council want to listen to me at the meeting. I think some early sound bytes hit some nerves.

I have no records of receiving an opt-out or even an opt-in statement. Could you provide a reference for the claim?

Here is an excerpt of what was read at the council meeting regarding climate change.

...Climate change is very complex and is a scientific fact. Man-made Global Warming is, however, a lie and a fraud. The modelled climate predictions of the future can't even model the known past.

I made an earlier reference to climate change is a hoax. This may have been taken out of context. The IPCC now defines anthropogenic global warming as climate change. Science is not proven by consensus.

Individual metering in combination with the city SCADA system is ample for billing purposes and managing the city water system as an asset. If you want to take the moral high ground and stop the leaking pipes, I recommend much cheaper methods for system leak detection, such as acoustics. Still, the term water leak is not defined.

This water tracking device is used in combination with a private app only available from Google Play or the Apple Store. Google is the largest collector of personal data on the globe. Once you start an account for these to get the app and check water usage, you have granted permission for them to monitor the digital device.  Have you heard of metadata, the information the computers use to store and share content? Technology only does what it is programmed to do. I want privacy from those who want to exploit me for their own benefit.

I recommend a couple books. One is called Data vs Goliath. Another is titled, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.  The author of the latter, a Harvard professor, fears that citizens are currently losing their rights and freedoms due to “ignorance, learned helplessness, inattention, inconvenience, habituation, or drift.”

If you're really interested in learning more, I recommend everybody watch the documentaries, How and Why Big Oil Conquered the World and Data is the New Oil. Add the tag James Corbett in the search. These videos get blocked by some search engines.

To state that there is no intention of invasion of privacy even lowers my level of confidence in council's understanding of the SMART GRID system.

The virtual fences are nearly constructed. Ask the people of Darwin how China's social control system is working.


I think I've found the product you've been looking for. It should solve all of your concerns.

Scott, re-reading my previous comment, the ending sounds condescending. I want to clarify that I commend you for your work, and I am sure there is a lot that goes into the project. I also want to state my appreciation for you having the personal initiative as a public figure to come to a public forum and share your factual opinion. 

John, I will provide my response to the comments you directly addressed to me after this:

I agree with you that the warming of the planet is a heavy politicized subject, and that the effect man has on it is probably small. Of course this is a (wrongly) controversial outlook to have, but if the Earth was on fire millions years ago, then covered in ice, I can’t imagine us humans hold much power over the climate. However, I still believe that the earth warming is a scientific fact. 

Considering that the Earth is, without a doubt, warming, I am personally glad that the government is atleast trying to do something about it. There is also this: humans will be long gone before the sun stops shining and the wind breathes its last breath. The same cannot be said about oil. I also cannot imagine any argument to the fact that massive floating piles of waste in the ocean is unaesthetic, to say the least. Of course banning straws and plastic bags won’t do much, but if we have other equal options, I am okay with the government intervening in a non-pretentious way. Extend that thought process to climate change. The cost of not doing anything only further burdens my generation with the already massive cost of getting away from oil, which is something that will inevitably happen. There will never be an efficient way to make oil in a lab. Once the wells are dry, it’s over.

An end to oil leads to my next point: my generation sees a future where robots do most of the work. Where renewables reduce the cost of living and free time is copious. I believe this will be the turning point in human history. It will either be a time of great advancements in philosophy and engineering, or we will bomb each other back to the Stone Age arguing over who’s straws are bigger. We will only reach this critical turning point if we trust our fellow man. Trust in his integrity. Obviously the social point system implemented by a monarchy devoid of moral reasoning didn’t work. However, data management can work with proper checks and balances, with intelligent robots doing the leg work. It’s fine for google to be trusted with our water meter data. But that’s exactly where the line should be drawn. 

Comsider this when forming your privacy beliefs: the government uses computers to monitor phone conversations for key words and when those key words are picked up, it is passed on to a human. This has been going on for years. Clearly we’ve all said less than flattering things on the phone and not had our door kicked in, so there is something to be said about the government we have created, and the checks and balances that exist within it. I am confident this system has saved countless lives. Once you legitamitely process that this has been happening to your phone calls for the past ten years, you can then realize that personal data can be safely stored and monitored on a colossal scale. 

So, how do we protect ourselves from those trying to profit from our data and having access to our entire lives? Well we either can the internet, or trust in the good of humankind to run a responsible government that educates the public on proper privacy procedures. I believe in the latter. A government funded by the people, that is powerful at the things we vote it to do. 

The number one thing that would change the world for the best would be an improved voting process. The public should have more say on things now that we can vote from home. We should also be provided with cold facts on topics and educated with critical thinking skills so that we can formulate decisions based in fact and not fear and indoctrination.

To conclude, climate change is real and privacy is important. Both can be entrusted into the hands of a government that respects their constituents. However, I do agree that sometimes it feels like the book “1984” was prophetic. Thought is already a crime in Canada, and it won’t be long until our brain ceases to be our body’s CPU. Somewhere we forgot about our fellow hard working men and women that together all build this country and turned on one another. But I digress. Each and every problem can be solved with factual debate, critical thought, public involvement, and an accountable government. 

Thanks for reading. I hope it reads without bias. 

Matt, thanks for the thoughtful response. I won't expand on the climate change debate. Climate is multifaceted system, even scientists can't agree.

We have been trained like pets our entire lives. At the same time, Corporations treat Councils like pets. Rewards only come with obedience. Council approved the installation of a computer system used to track water usage. They have either been misinformed, ignored information, received rewards or it's a combination each one. What raises eyebrows is that a special meeting was needed to award this contract, less than a month following the same defeated motion to award the contract.

Surveillance has been used for years. It could only be done on a selective basis due to the high cost. The data was rarely held for long periods of time because of storage limitations. Now real time surveillance is cheap, done by computers, and data storage is exponentially growing. The collected data is rarely, if ever, deleted. Only 3-4 pieces of anonymous data is needed to identify the person. The real time use of algorithms for facial recognition is staggering.

At the public input period at a council meeting, I asked a few questions.

How is this SMART system prolonging the life of the water system? No answer
What are the citizen's choices for a higher level of security? No answer
Who decides what security choices are available? No answer

Where does it stop, as more so-called “SMART” products are added to the mix?  At some point we reach a tipping point where limits must be placed on what can be considered a “reasonable” invasion of privacy.  For me, the tipping point has arrived.

I am pessimistic regarding the democratic copious free time. The divine right sociopaths are trying to control every resource needed to live. If legal and lawful continue to be socially accepted to mean the same, the system of slavery that governs our lives today will remain in place.

One must be informed in order to make an informed decision. In the water reports, improving public education to conserve water is referenced. Ironically, an objective of SMART automated technology is to train behaviour. Thus, eliminating critical thought or wisdom.

I'll repeat ...citizens are currently losing their rights and freedoms due to “ignorance, learned helplessness, inattention, inconvenience, habituation, or drift.

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal. Martin Luther King Jr.