‘Dragnet’ Data Collections by Smart Meters and an ‘Infrastructure of Surveillance’

‘Dragnet’ Data Collections by Smart Meters and an ‘Infrastructure of Surveillance’

And What Your Utility Company Doesn’t Want You to Know about Smart Meters

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Smart Meter Big Data Dragnet CollectionIn what was likely a little publicized workshop conducted in November 2013 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on privacy and security issues concerning the Internet of Things (IoT), I found some invaluable insight offered in the FTC video archives on the subject of smart meters.

A presentation was made at the FTC workshop by Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).  Key statements in the presentation and follow-up panel discussion include the following:

I’m not really a cheerleader for the Internet of Things.  To me, it raises a huge number of privacy and security issues, to the extent that IoT devices entail ubiquitous collection of large amounts of data about what people do.”

“And you are also concerned about — or should be concerned about the environmental collection, sort of a non-targeted dragnet collection from devices in the environment.”

Smart meters are a good example.”

“As Justice Scalia said in the 2001 Kyllo thermal imaging case, in the home, our cases show all details are intimate, because the entire area is held safe from prying government eyes.”

“… when large, large amounts of consumers’ information is stored … it either gets monetized or it gets made accessible to the government.”

“… when you look at it from a law enforcement perspective, the Internet of Things is an infrastructure of surveillance.”

Selected excerpts from the November 2013 FTC workshop are provided in the video below.   The video is immediately followed by a more complete written transcript of the video content.  It is highly recommended to spend the 7+ minutes to watch the video.

As made clear by Mr. Tien, most consumers are not aware of the ‘dragnet’ type of data collection performed by smart meters and how these massive amounts of private data can later be analyzed to reveal much more information about them, more than they could have ever expected.

What is necessary now is that we somehow break through this lack of consumer awareness barrier so that smart meters and those who promote them can receive the full and appropriate level of public outrage that they deserve.

See video and read full article at: http://smartgridawareness.org/2015/08/17/dragnet-data-collections-by-smart-meters/

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