The truth about gross privacy violation via smart meter technology
Privacy, the control of knowledge about self, is a facet of personal liberty, moral autonomy, and democracy. It has been called “central to the attainment of individual goals under every theory” . Home is a refuge and the center of the family life where all details are, and must remain intimate details.
Smart meters record energy usage every few minutes and in many instances every few seconds or in real time – continuously.
This information is highly detailed revealing everything about the activity and life within the home including which appliances are in use at what times, for how long, and of what type, to how many people live within the home at what times and their habits and activities even finances, including if there is a newborn, and more.
Smart meter data is highly granular and the most revealing, providing information about the interior of the home and the lives of all residents in great detail. Anyone can request this information without a warrant from third parties with whom utilities share this data as many use them to handle customers’ billing and consumption information. This is because there is no law enforcement access to information held by third parties, and many of them are overseas.
There are legitimate concerns about unwarranted, gross privacy intrusion enabled by smart meter technology, and the “ownership” it grants utilities over the most private data of the home residents and their appliances, without informed consent.
All the above stated privacy concerns and the seriousness of the issue have been outlined and documented in the Submission to the Essential Services Commission by the Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner SBN-Office-of-the-Victorian-Privacy-Commissioner-S
How easy it is to hack smart meters and what are utilities doing with intrusively obtained private information about households is partly explained in this video called Smart Hacking for Privacy. In the 49th minute of the video, the executive of a German power company, amongst other things, discloses the business model of smart meters largely resting on commission payments obtained from selling this private information to retailers and derived technologies:
Smart Hacking for Privacy
Read more about Privacy and the Modern Grid in this edition of the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology.
Ex-fraud investigator gives his police point of view on privacy invasion by smart meters