A multinational demands to know who reads MuckRock and is suing to stop us from posting records about them

We will fight for our users’ rights and the public’s right to know

Written by Michael Morisy
Edited by JPat Brown

Update: A court has granted a temporary restraining order, which includes removing the documents.

A multinational owned by Toshiba is demanding MuckRock remove documents about them received under a public records act request, destroy any copies we have, and help identify MuckRock readers who saw them.

The company, Landis+Gyr, has notified us that they are filing suit this morning in the Superior Court of Washington for King County asking for an emergency injunction to take down the information.

We believe that these legal threats are a chilling attack on free speech and we will not be complying with their demands.

We also believe people have a broad right to understand the security implications of technology purchased by their governments, particularly if, as is the case with the smart electrical meter systems provided by Landis+Gyr, that technology monitors the activities of people in their homes.

The request was filed by Phil Mocek and covered:

Plans for, schedules of, policies dictating the performance of, requests for proposals to, contracts for, discussion of, and results of all security audits performed of "smart meter" devices (remotely-addressable electrical meters sometimes referred to as "advanced metering infrastructure"), along with metadata. These devices are designed to replace traditional electric meters. They contain sensors that monitor activities inside subscribers' premises and automatically communicate information collected by those sensors to machines in remote locations.

So far, the city has released two documents: An independent audit of Landis+Gyr’s technology that the company had provided to Seattle, and a two-page security overview.

The independent audit, while mostly noting that Landis+Gyr followed its own security protocols, did find some security issues.

The auditors found that evidence of physical access reviews, as mandated by Landis+Gyr’s own policies, were not available for three of the six months reviewed. Landis+Gyr said that it had improved its access logging and was not concerned with the missing data.

Landis+Gyr has said that the documents were mistakenly released but, as of this writing, Seattle City Light, the agency that released the documents, has not indicated that the documents were released in error, nor has the city asked that the documents be removed.

In addition to filing for an injunction against MuckRock and Phil Mocek, Landis+Gyr has also filed for an emergency injunction against the city to bar the release of more documents that were requested by Mocek but which have not yet been released.

Below are the documents that have been released so far, which can also be read on the request page.

These documents have been removed under court order.


Image via Landis+Gyr.