Lawsuit: Northern California utility targeted Asians in pot searches

By DON THOMPSON | The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — Extraordinary use of electricity has long been a telltale sign of illegal grow houses producing thousands of marijuana plants hidden in seemingly ordinary homes.

But a lawsuit filed by a data privacy watchdog says a Northern California utility went too far by racially profiling Asian communities as it routinely fed customers’ power use information to police without requiring a warrant or any suspicion of wrongdoing, in violation of state laws.

The data disclosure deliberately targeted Asian Americans, with resulting disproportionate penalties against those of Asian descent, the suit says.

The suit illustrates a flashpoint in law enforcement’s efforts to combat illicit

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