A Georgia energy company has made two separate attempts to take down public documents that let Seattle residents know how the “smart meters” on their homes work.
Back in 2016, a local activist obtained two documents from the City of Seattle related to the smart meter technology. But some companies involved in making and maintaining that technology went to court and won a quick order that forcing the documents offline by arguing that information about the city’s meters constituted “trade secrets.”
EFF fought back, defending Muckrock’s First Amendment right to publish public documents obtained from a public records request. After our intervention, a Washington state court reversed the takedown order. In mid-2016, a settlement was reached with Landis + Gyr and Sensus, two of the companies that had attempted to remove the documents. Lawyers for the two companies explicitly agreed that the documents could remain public and published at Muckrock’s website.
But in February 2018, Landis + Gyr sent a DMCA notice demanding a takedown of the exact same documents that, two years earlier, they explicitly agreed could remain online. A copy of the smart meter documents was placed on DocumentCloud, by Techdirt, a technology blog that had reported on the initial 2016 proceedings.
Techdirt noted the futility of trying to remove documents that were already online elsewhere, and suggested that all Landis + Gyr is doing is “reminding everyone that (1) these documents exist online and (2) apparently the company would prefer you not look at these public records about its own systems.”