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Is Your Electricity Meter Spying On You? 405

lee1 writes "If you have a 'smart meter,' it is collecting data that can reveal when you wake up, when you leave for work and come home, when you go on vacation and when you take a shower. This data is commercially valuable and, if sold to third parties, can lead to privacy invasion on a massive scale. The California Public Utility Commission is reacting to the gas and electric company's mass installation of these meters with new proposals for strong privacy protections."
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Is Your Electricity Meter Spying On You?

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  • by GeekMarine72 ( 897842 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @02:14PM (#36096862) Journal
    I've worked for a firm that collects this data. The technology, as it's exists now, is incapable of the level of analysis described. The data is flow is massive and only summation for billing is viable. Even then, "sanitization" of data is common practices. While protective legislation and guidance is encouraged before it goes too far, there are far greater violations including IP address mapping between logins on identifying solutions (gmail, yahoo mail) and apparent "anonymous" sites. Flash Persisted Objects being one aspect, IP + browser fingerprinting, and collaboration between marketing organizations and online retailers are bigger risks. The part that sucks is we can't opt out of smart metering. Security is quite solid but if I had any advice to the PUCs it would be to mandate truck roles for power turn off / turn down. The current broadcast model on smart meters combined with the potential to brute force the master key for broadcasting means someone with a bit of knowledge and desire could inject into the meshed network a flag to shut down broad swaths of power consumers, which in turn could lead to a surge back into the grid causing other catastrophic outages. GM72
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @04:11PM (#36098514)

    "Like odors, IR leaking into the public domain needs no warrant."

    Nope. An infrared scan constitutes a search. They would have to get a warrant, first, in order to do the thermal imaging.


Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.