Smart meters vulnerable to hacking | The Canberra Times

Your smart meter could be hacked, your energy held to ransom, its usage monitored to determine the best time to rob your house, or even used by advertisers to determine your favourite TV show.

Director of the Centre for Internet Safety at the University of Canberra Nigel Phair has warned Australian consumers aren’t aware of the risks associated with their smart meters.

There are two types of smart meters, ‘one-way’ or ‘two-way’ meters: one way meters simply transmit data back to utility companies.

Two-way meters can be updated to inform savvy consumers on fee changes or allow power companies to cut services at a moment’s notice.

Mr Phair said two-way meters had less secure data connections, allowing would-be criminals to hack in.

ActewAGL said there were 3225 two-way smart meters in the ACT, representing 1.7 per cent of meters in the capital.

Mr Phair said there were no Australian or global standards on security and privacy regarding smart meters and called for more stringent digital security standards.

“They’re vulnerable to cyber attacks back into the home because it can receive data over the internet,” Mr Phair said.

“The reason electricity companies want this is because they can turn it off when you don’t pay your bill.”

Mr Phair said hackers could potentially cut power then demand money from households before reactivating it, or use it to determine when no one was home before breaking in.

Mr Phair’s report Smart Meters: What does a connected house really mean? cited a case in Puerto Rico where hackers offered households lower power bills.

For fees ranging up to $US1000, hackers reprogrammed two-way smart meters remotely to reduce monthly power bills by 75 per cent, costing power bodies in Puerto Rico nearly $US400 million.

The report pointed to malware software capable of infecting two-way meters before leaping to nearby meters, potentially shutting down entire neighbourhoods.

“We should only roll out one-way meters in the first instance, until we work out the security and privacy issues of two-ways meters,” Mr Phair said.

“Essentially, one-way radio transmission is more secure for the customer.”

A scathing 2015 report by the Victorian Auditor-General found two-way meters had delivered no cost benefits to Victorian households.

While Mr Phair said the meters allowed consumers to actively monitor and analyse their usage, but most were unaware how.

Mr Phair added smart meter readings also had potential for advertisers.

German researchers eavesdropping on household energy outputs determined the type of TV and the show people were watching by the energy required to light the screen.

It required previous understanding of what energy patterns programs created but Mr Phair said the data could be sold to advertisers, raising privacy concerns.

He said the energy data could be matched with people’s social media use.

A report from the Australian Energy Market Commission last year set new rules in place to improve security and privacy standards on smart meters.

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CORPORATE TIES THAT BIND – An Examination of Corporate Manipulation and Vested Interest in Public Health

“This monumental volume represents decades of dedicated research and expertise into major issues of industrial influence against national and international public health. This exposé will lead to more fairness in public and occupational health and to a new generation of objective public health-oriented advocates.”  James Huff, PhD, formerly head of IARC Monographs Program (France) and associate director for chemical carcinogenesis, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (US).

Edited by Martin J. Walker
Foreword by David O. Carpenter, M.D.

Profitability versus Public Health

The fight between corporate profit and public health has resulted in unnecessary disease and even death. Corporate Ties That Bind clearly shows how conflicts of interest, lies, distortion of facts, and the corruption of scientists affect our exposure to toxins and radiation—and the quality of our lives.

From a wide range of writers, here are groundbreaking pieces on:

  • The basis of bad science
  • Industrial influences on cancer epidemiology
  • Secret ties in asbestos
  • Hiding environmental issues
  • Downplaying radiation risk

Whether you’re concerned about how corporations have distorted the health impacts of their products or how their financial interests affect our well-being, Corporate Ties That Bind is a must-read.

A scholarly and international look at how corporations are influencing public health

In the twenty-first century, corporations have worked their way into government, and, as they grow more powerful, arguments about their involvement with public health have become increasingly black and white. With corporations at the centre of public health and environmental issues, everything chemical or technological is good, and everything natural is bad; scientists who are funded by corporations are right, and those who are independent are invariably wrong.  Common ground between the two sides in these arguments is diminishing.

Corporate Ties That Bind is a collection of essays written by influential academic scholars, activists, and epidemiologists from around the world who scrutinise the corporate reasoning, false science, and trickery of those who present the scientific messages of organisations that attack and censure independent voices.  It shows how we are bombarded with opposing messages, as producers fight to make big profits and those concerned with health try to warn society of impending toxic dangers.  Writers include Lennart Hardell MD PhD, investigative journalist Gunni Nordström and Australia’s Don Maisch, PhD.

This book addresses how the growth of corporatism is destroying liberal democracy and personal choice.  There is a battle taking place between profitability and public health, and this book provides a detailed and scholarly intervention.

Skyhorse Publishing hardcover, also available as an e-book | On Sale: February 7, 2017 ISBN 978-1-5107-1188-4


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University Study Exposes Smart Meters Inflating Power Consumption Readings

Smart meters overcharge consumers by up to 582% while at the same time collecting owner’s data which is then sold to third parties for further profit, according to the first major university study into the controversial technology.

The University of Twente (UT) in the Netherlands, in collaboration with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) published the results of a major study into the nine most popular smart meters used in the United States and United Kingdom, with the conclusion that smart meters routinely overcharge consumers, often by staggering amount.

“In the experiments (which were entirely reproducible), five of the nine smart meters gave readings that were much higher than the actual amount of power consumed. Indeed, in some setups, these were up to 582 percent higher.”

Is it any wonder that electric utilities have increasingly embraced smart meters, pushing hard for the mass rollout of the technology……




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Victoria delays implementation of national arrangements for metering competition

The Victorian government has decided that it will not transition to the new national smart meter rule until 2021.  The new rule, which is intended to facilitate a market-led deployment of ‘advanced’ meters and metering competition, commences on 1 December in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

Delaying implementation of the new rule means that Victorians continue to lack the opt-out rights accorded to other consumers.  Small customers (residential or business customers who consume energy below a specified threshold) in the jurisdictions which have adopted the new rule have the right to opt out of having their working meter replaced with a smart meter.  In addition, even if these consumers are receiving a new meter for other reasons, the national rule provides that customers who have communicated their refusal in advance will be given a non-communicating smart meter.

The delay in transitioning to the national arrangements means that Victorians are continuing to be treated as second-class citizens.

Although the Victorian government didn’t technically take the step of making smart meters compulsory when it mandated its rollout of smart meters, it instead foisted on power distributors the obligation to use their ‘best endeavours’ to install smart meters at every residence and small business.  This approach led to incidences of appalling abuse of human rights, and consumers being falsely told smart meters were mandatory and they had no choice but to accept them or face large fines or power cut-offs.  All complete lies!

Some people were bullied by installers into accepting a smart meter.  Other installers ignored and ripped down signs that stipulated that a smart meter was not to be installed.  Power distributors blatantly sought to mislead consumers as to how often smart meters emitted microwave transmissions in a bid to lull consumers into accepting a smart meter. A number of Victorians took the drastic measure of staying home all day, too frightened to leave their homes, in case an installer came whilst they were out.

Why doesn’t the Victorian Labor government do the right thing and give all Victorians the right to have a non-communicating meter?


For previous posts on this issue, see:

Power distributors advocate optional smart meters in Victoria – But will the Victorian Labor Government listen?  

Smart Meters by Stealth

To view the Financial Review’s story on Victoria’s decision to delay transitioning to the national rule, go to Victoria opts out of national rules on smart meters.

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Landlines Petition


Please consider signing this URGENT petition imploring the Government to keep landlines in rural areas!

The Productivity Commission is currently undertaking an inquiry into the Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation. Draft recommendation 9.1 calls for the Australian Government to phase out Telstra’s obligation to provide landlines.

If rural Australians in the NBN satellite and fixed wireless footprints lose their landlines, they will be left without a safe means of voice communications.

The petition is on behalf of people suffering from the condition of EHS/ MTS (Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome/ Microwave Toxicity Syndrome). Those with this condition cannot tolerate wireless signals without becoming ill. This can occur when exposed to WiFi, smart meters, mobile phones, Bluetooth, etc.

Losing landlines in rural areas would be a human rights and health disaster. We need a radiation-free NBN for everyone. Don’t let them take away people’s right to choose radiation-free communications!

To see the text for this petition and to sign, go to:


To view SSMA’s previous post on this issue, go to:

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WHO: Setting the Standard for a Wireless World of Harm

Former World Health Organisation staffer, Olga Sheean, has written a report calling on the World Health Organisation (WHO) for action and accountability on wireless technology.

In her introduction to the report, Sheean writes:

The World Health Organization is failing the Earth’s citizens in the most blatant, destructive manner. In December 2016, a VOTE of NO CONFIDENCE in WHO and its EMF Project was initiated in response to the growing concerns among the millions of global citizens being harmed by radiofrequency/microwave radiation. The petition has been signed by thousands of individuals worldwide, with more adding their vote every day as they become aware of how WHO’s denial of the proven dangers has stripped them of their health, rights, livelihood, productivity and protection from their own governments……

Radiofrequency/microwave radiation is everywhere—constantly and increasingly emanating from cell phones, WiFi routers, cell towers and telecommunications satellites. It is proliferating unchecked and people are suffering and dying because of it. Via its International EMF Project, WHO is supposed to be protecting us from the harmful effects of this radiation—radiation that we cannot see, smell or taste, even though it penetrates and affects every cell of our electromagnetic bodies.

WHO is failing to protect its global citizens from this pervasive pollutant in four key ways:

1. industry infiltration
2. intentional ignorance
3. denial of the science
4. disregard for humanity.

This document provides details of these inexcusable failures and what urgently needs to be done to address them. It also outlines what WHO must do to reverse this destructive course—for itself and for the global citizens it is supposed to protect.

Click here for a copy of the report.

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Power distributors advocate optional smart meters in Victoria – But will the Victorian Labor Government listen?

Last year the Victorian Government, through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), issued an Options paper asking for feedback on proposed changes to the way electricity metering is installed and managed in Victoria. The purpose of the paper was to give Victorian community and industry stakeholders the opportunity to provide their views on how Victoria can best transition to the new national arrangements for metering competition for households and small businesses.

What is of particular interest to Stop Smart Meters Australia is the question posed by DELWP on whether Victoria should vary its current policy position on the ‘mandatory’ nature of smart meters, in order to fall in line with national arrangements.  (See our post entitled Smart Meters by Stealth for an overview of consumers’ right to opt out under the new national rule commencing 1 December 2017.)

The 18 responses to DEWLP make for some very interesting reading:

In response to whether Victoria should vary its current policy position that smart meters are mandatory and allow households and small businesses to opt out of having a communicating smart meter Jemena wrote:

“About 2 % of JEN’s customers have steadfastly refused a communicating AMI smart meter. We consider customers should be able to opt out of having a communicating smart meter. The opt-out policy would be consistent with the national metering competition framework and reflects the customers’ interests.” (Emphasis added).

AusNet Services wrote:

“The current CROIC [Cost Recovery Order in Council] allows Victorian customers to refuse a smart meter exchange leaving the old meter in place. Whilst the national smart meter framework requires customers to receive a manually read interval meter instead. This essentially promotes the practice of removing communications modules from functioning meters, although we currently offer in very limited circumstances such as hypersensitivity. We would not support removing the communications module for any other reason.” (Emphasis added)

This is great news; both Jemena and AusNet services argue that smart meters should not be compulsory in Victoria, and AusNet Services acknowledges some people do suffer from electrohypersensitivity (EHS) as a result of the pulsed radiation emitted by smart meters. Yet the Andrews Labor Government REFUSES to admit this!!

Red Energy and Lumo Energy wrote:

“Red and Lumo support the national arrangements applying in Victoria, inclusive of the ability for customers to choose not to have a communicating smart meter.” (Emphasis added)

Yet United Energy disagrees, writing that smart meters should always be installed except on “the few occasions when telecommunications network and signal strength cannot are not available at the metering installation.” (Emphasis added)

This is typical of this heartless company who even refused to exchange their smart meter for a disabled young lady who suffered excruciating pain as a result of the pulsed radiation emitted from her smart meter. This woman’s mother wrote:

“United Energy have no empathy at all. They do not give a damn who suffers, and they will continue to deny that the smart meter is a health risk for some people. They continue to lie. I feel so very angry and frustrated that this is actually happening and that no one, including politicians and journalists, are brave enough to do anything about this.” See:


And to top it off, the so-called Joint Consumer Groups’ submission advocates for the maintenance of mandatory smart meters. They wrote:

“Many of the identified benefits flowing from smart meters rely on communications technology. Customers opting out of having a communicating smart meter on any significant scale would diminish the value of processes currently undertaken by network businesses, including network management, safety and remote energisation. Given the benefits that flow from a fully communicating network, and that this requirement is already in place, there is little rationale for a change in approach at this stage. There have been a number of changes to this policy over the period of the rollout. To realise the societal benefits the policy should remain that advanced meters remain mandatory for households and small business.” (Emphasis added)

It is a simple and well known fact, that smart meters overwhelmingly benefit the multinational companies who install them and NOT consumers. See for example:

The partners of the Joint Consumer Groups’ submission are: The Alternative Technology Association (ATA), Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action), Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre (CUAC), the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Community Information & Support Victoria and St Vincent de Paul Society.

These organisations should be ashamed of themselves for abandoning the very people they claim to support.

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