Even energy boss admits smart meters aren’t that smart! EDF chief says £11bn plan to introduce them nationally will face ‘may challenges’

Even energy boss admits smart meters aren’t that smart! EDF chief says £11bn plan to introduce them nationally will face ‘may challenges’

  • Vincent de Rivaz has said that the £11billion scheme faces ‘many challenges’
  • The smart meters project  is expected to be rolled out to 26 million homes
  • But problems with the communication infrastructure mean modern models may not be isssued

The boss of one of Britain’s biggest electricity firms has questioned the ‘security and safety’ of the national £11billion roll-out of smart meters across the UK.

Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said the programme faces ‘many challenges’ and was critical of the quality of the meters being offered to customers.

He added that the issues may pose a threat to ‘public confidence’ in the programme.

The smart meter project is intended to fit 26 million homes across the country with smart meters by 2020.

Problems with the communication infrastructure meant that many customers will not get the best ‘next generation’ meters (file image)

Problems with the communication infrastructure meant that many customers will not get the best ‘next generation’ meters (file image)

But problems with the communication infrastructure meant that many customers will not get the best ‘next generation’ meters.

Instead they will get inferior meters that cost more and make it harder to switch suppliers, the boss of EDF said.

Around 2million inferior ‘first generation’ smart meters – codenamed SMETS 1 – have already been installed.

Some users have complained that when they try to switch to different suppliers, the smart meters no longer work.

Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said the programme faces ‘many challenges’

Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said the programme faces ‘many challenges’

In effect, after switching supplier the meter reverts to being a conventional meter.

Eventually, improvements to the infrastructure for the project will allow more sophisticated ‘next generation’ meters, known as SMETS 2 to be used.

But as yet, the network, run by the Data Communications Company, a subsidiary of Capita, has not yet been upgraded.

GCHQ, the government’s codebreaking body, have been drafted in to improve security to the network, which it warned was vulnerable to being hacked.

The Royal Academy of Engineering warned in a report that ‘disruption on a massive scale is possible’ if hackers managed to switch off householders’ electricity remotely.

In a speech yesterday, Mr de Rivaz said: ‘Delays to the communications infrastructure – the DCC – now means millions more customers will get less digitally sophisticated meters than intended.

‘These meters make things more complex from the moment when a customer switches supplier – and they cost more than the next-generation meters.

‘It is our responsibility to maintain public confidence in the programme and keep costs under control.

‘That’s why I think now is time for all the parties – Government, suppliers, regulator, DCC, providers of technology – to sit together and take stock on where we are.

‘We need to be honest with ourselves on all the issues: security, safety, quality, costs and timeline.’

Mr de Rivaz said that the industry ‘has a shared responsibility in the success or the failure of this programme.’

He added: ‘We are all committed to make it a success because we understand the long term potential. But we are also aware of the many challenges faced.’

The cost of installing the smart meters is an average of £400 per property, which is added to energy bills over time.

GCHQ, the government’s codebreaking body, have been drafted in to improve security to the network, which it warned was vulnerable to being hacked

GCHQ, the government’s codebreaking body, have been drafted in to improve security to the network, which it warned was vulnerable to being hacked

The programme was first devised under the last Labour government but received support from the subsequent Tory and Lib Dem coalition.

Smart meters have been promoted on the basis they give real time information on how much energy is being used to the homeowner and their energy company – getting rid of estimated bills.

Radio antennae in the meters transmit the information to the energy companies.

It is hoped the meters will reduce energy use as customers will be able to see how much they energy they are using.

The benefit to electricity company is that they will no longer need to employ meter readers.

An EDF spokesman said that ‘taking stock’ of the programme did not mean pausing or scrapping the scheme.


Smart Meters could be overbilling you by a whopping 582%

Smart Meters could be overbilling you by a whopping 582%

Image: Smart Meters could be overbilling you by a whopping 582%

Natural News) Most people understand that utility bills are a necessary evil if they want to live in the modern world – even if utility bills eat up a large portion of monthly income. That said, few are willing to pay more than they should be paying, and yet, according to a stunning new report, some people are paying more than they should. A lot more.

As reported by web site Boing Boing, a research team from the University of Twente in Enschende, Netherlands, and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences documented billing inaccuracies in a paper that reviewed the efficacy of so-called “smart” electric meters, ranging from -32 percent to +582 percent of the actual power consumed in a month’s period.

The paper also noted that, ironically, the overbilling is mostly due to older power-saving features because they introduce line noise that interferes with the wireless signal and thereby ‘confuses’ the meters. (RELATED: Read SILENT KILLER: Smart Meters Are Destroying Your Health.)

“Static, or electronic, energy meters are replacing the conventional electromechanical meters. Consumers are sometimes complaining about higher energy readings and billing after the change to a static meter, but there is not a clear common or root cause at present,” an abstract of the findings states. “Electromagnetic interference has been observed between active infeed converters as used in photo-voltaic systems and static meters. Reducing the interference levels eliminated inaccurate reading in static meters.”

In all, five of nine smart meters that were tested provided readings that were substantially greater than the real amount of energy utilized, while two actually gave readings lower than the amount of power consumed.

Researchers found the biggest discrepancies when they joined dimmer switches with LED and energy-saving light bulbs.

Upon finishing their experiments, researchers then took apart the tested smart meters to see if they could find out what was causing the massive deviations. In the process, the three-man team of researchers found that the meters which provided the dramatically higher usage rates used a Rogowski Coil in the construction, while meters that gave artificially lower readings employed Hall effect-based sensors. But both modes of construction inaccurately measured the actual amount used.

It wasn’t clear from the abstract whether the tested meters were actually in use, either in the Netherlands or elsewhere. If both of those types of meters are being used, then some are paying less for the electricity they use, while most are paying much, much more.

In addition to costing consumers far more money, some researchers contend that the meters themselves are also health hazards. And some lawmakers at the state level are taking action.

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck of Michigan testified before the state House Energy and Technology Committee in early March regarding a piece of legislation – HB 4220 – that would permit homeowners to opt out of getting smart meters installed on their dwellings without having to pay a fine. He has based his opposition to smart meters on research indicating that they can cause a wide array of health problems, in addition to a cyber security threat posed by their installation and use, since they are wireless and transmit data to the utility company. (RELATED: Smart meters use unsafe, cancer-causing technology.)

During his testimony, Colbeck said he thinks smart meters are “putting our homes, our nation and, frankly, some of the power suppliers at risk.”

Others have issues with the privacy aspect of smart meters. Electric use data hacked from a wireless smart meter can be used by clever criminals to determine when people are home and when they are gone – to work, in particular – which provides them a window to enter the home without expecting anyone to be there.

There are also physical dangers to smart meter use. As Natural News has reported, some smart meters that are mandated by government have spontaneously caught fire, putting residents at risk of loss of life and property. Learn more at SmartMeters.news.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


Get smarter about new meters, urges EDF boss

Get smarter about new meters, urges EDF boss

Vincent de Rivaz said that costs needed to be reviewed to maintain public confidence in the programmeRICHARD POHLE/THE TIMES

EDF Energy has urged the government to rethink its £11 billion smart meter programme, warning that it faces “many challenges” and could end in failure.

Vincent de Rivaz, UK head of the French energy company, said the timeline and costs were among issues that needed to be reviewed to maintain public confidence in the programme.

The government has told suppliers they must try to install the smart gas and electricity meters in every home and small business by 2020.

The meters, which take automatic readings and send them back to suppliers, will end estimated billing and enable households to monitor their usage in real-time, encouraging them to consume less.

However, the plan has been plagued by setbacks and delays leading to concern the timescale is unrealistic and the costs, levied on energy bills, could spiral beyond £11 billion.

“We need to be honest with ourselves on all the issues: security, safety, quality, costs and timeline. We all have a shared responsibility in the success or the failure of this programme,” Mr de Rivaz said.

The Times reported this month that six million households were expected to be fitted with smart meters that may not work if they switch supplier because of delays to the IT systems needed to install a new type that can be reliably switched.

Mr de Rivaz said: “Delays to the communications infrastructure now mean millions more customers will get less digitally sophisticated meters than intended.

Mr de Rivaz said that smart meters “make things more complex, for the moment”ALAMY

“These meters make things more complex, for the moment, when a customer switches supplier and they cost more than the next-generation meters.”

SSE last year called for an urgent reconsideration of the delivery timetable. It said that delays to IT systems were “undermining confidence in the programme and compressing the window in which suppliers can roll out the enduring solution at scale, driving up costs and creating challenges for the industry”.

Several other suppliers are understood to share the concerns but have not spoken out on the politically contentious issue.

The government is preparing to publish its plans to intervene on household energy prices, after Theresa May said she would “step in” to tackle a market “manifestly not working” for consumers.

Mr de Rivaz told the Future of Utilities conference he could “understand why the prime minister wants to consider doing more”, to ensure that “customers who still don’t really think about their electricity bill and especially vulnerable customers are not left behind”.

He claimed it was “important any short-term measures don’t let the industry off the hook when it comes delivering long term the objective of a better market for all customers”.

A Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department spokeswoman said: “Energy suppliers must complete the rollout by the end of 2020.”


Letter: Find truth about smart meters

Albert Lea Tribune

Letter: Find truth about smart meters

“The smart meters are coming, the smart meters are coming!” would be the modern cry of Paul Revere. Am I the only person in all of Freeborn/Mower who is running around town warning people? It would appear so. The power company has only received three phone calls about them, I was No. 4. They showed up last week to install one, and I said, “No, I don’t want one.” But there is no opt-out program so far? The industry claims they are “safe.” Well, you can watch infomercials on TV all night long about class action lawsuits on products that were “safe” and still somehow made in onto the market. The industry likes to tell you they are just like your smart phone or Wi-Fi, so nothing to worry about. Who says smart phones and Wi-Fi are “safe”?

Did you know your iPhone actually does have a warning hidden deep in the manual? All of us are already surrounded by constant electro smog from all these devices. So basically they are telling you, “You’re already a smoker, so why not just start smoking two packs a day instead of just one.” What kind of logic and reasoning is that?

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a growing problem in people. Have you experienced insomnia or ringing in your ears since your smart meter was installed? Start keeping track of any other health problems that have suddenly appeared. When did they start? Albert Lea is supposedly a Blue Zone city. I think some studies need to start in regards to these Wi-Fi meters. They are not comparable to a smart phone, they are much worse. They send a micro burst of EMF radiation every six seconds. Who do you know that is on their phone every six seconds other than your average teen? And that is 24/7 for the rest of your life. Not even a teen could keep that pace up. Enjoy your new electro smog chain-smoking roommate. He smokes a cigarette every six seconds, he never sleeps and he likes to keep you up at night too. I tried to create an “Albert Lea Smart Meters” Community page on Facebook, but they mysteriously took it down. If it’s still not there, try my End EMF Facebook page for more info.

Phil Mandsager

Albert Lea


Smart Meters: How important is your health

Smart Meters: How important is your health
 Follow link to see chart:  http://www.mycaldwellcounty.com/opinions/whos-pulling-strings-0
Chart A produced by Daniel Hirsch, corrected to represent cumulative, whole body exposure. When the chart is corrected to reflect the same units of measurement, it appears that smart meters are at least 100x more powerful than cell phones, which are increasingly being linked with brain tumors.

Who’s Pulling The Strings?

Smart Meters: How important is your health

If one person’s health is compromised for the sake of smart meter technology, it is one too many.

More and more experts are saying that smart meters are unsafe. The FCC standard for rf radiation is currently under review. It caters to industry, allowing 500 times the rf exposures compared to more protective countries. The FCC also did not take into account a mesh network or all frequencies now used involving a forced chronic exposure with the presence of pulsed rf radiation.

At the end of this article, there are a number of websites that are linked to scientific studies that warn about the effects of radio frequency radiation. A lot of these studies involve the use of cell phones, which is alarming, because if you look at the relation of rf exposure from a cell phone vs. a smart meter, you will find that the radiation from a cell phone is minuscule to the exposure you will receive from a smart meter. (Chart A) The worst case scenario is for residents who have their smart meter installed across the wall from their bedroom, due to the proximity of the meter and the fact that you will spend approximately eight hours at a high level of radio frequency radiation. A lot of water meters are also installed in the basement of many homes. Most people aren’t even aware of what a smart meter looks like, and if they were to have negative health issues, they assume it is caused by some other factor.

Some of the symptoms of electromagnetic frequency radiation (EMF) are as follows:

Constant headaches (pressure encompassing your head), insomnia (difficulty getting a good uninterrupted night’s sleep), lethargy and concentration difficulties, problems staying focused, sharp pains into your head or occasionally in your intestinal region, joint pain, particularly in the elbow, fingers and sometimes the knees, irritability and feelings of anxiousness, heart beat irregularities, body aches and pains, ringing of the ears (tinnitus), chronic fatigue syndrome, worsening of symptoms from multiple sclerosis or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), eye (floaters) and ear problems.

Is the AMR meter any safer than a smart meter? Well, it’s the next step down. (Chart B) The AMR meter, sometimes called “ERT” transmits data using a one-way radio frequency. The radio signal is picked up by a “collector” inside a meter reader’s vehicle. Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system. For an example, water meter readings from all the homes in Hamilton would be transmitted to communications tower on top of the city’s water tower and then be transmitted to city hall. A traditional Analog Meter poses the lowest risk in all three categories of risk. This meter is also called: Traditional Analog Mechanical Meter, Traditional Analog Electromechanical Meter; Traditional Analog Mechanical Meter with No Wireless Communications Capability; Traditional Analog Mechanical Meter with No Electronic Circuitry.

The whole issue here is that digital meters, whether or not “smart”, cause dirty electricity to flow through your home’s wiring. The problem is what is called the “switched mode power supply.” Switched mode power supplies are used to run the digital meter (whether a smart meter or a radio-off opt-out smart meter) In order for a smart meter to be powered, the 240 volts coming off the power line to the meter must be stepped down to 4-10 volts. A switched mode power supply is the device used to step down the voltage from 240 volts to 4-10 volts. This generates an enormous amount of what is commonly known as “dirty electricity” and referred to electricians and electrical engineers as “voltage transients,” “voltage harmonics,” “line noise,” and “power quality issues.”

Steve Weller, a victim of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), summed it up very well with his statement, “It is obvious in my eyes that there is no desire to uncover the truth because of the legal implications to governments and the industry around the world. It seems that we who are EHS are collateral damage in the name of progress.”

If you care about the harming effects of smart meters, find out how your city aldermen and those currently running for those positions in the April election stand on this very important issue and vote accordingly.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the National Institutes of Health http://www.saferemr.com/2016/05/national-toxicology-progam-finds-cell.html

Monograph Working  Group  ( part of the World Health Organization (WHO), http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf

A journal article entitled “Self-Reporting of Symptom Development From Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields of Wireless Smart Meters in Victoria, Australia: A Case Series” by Federica Lamech, MBBS has been published in the November/December 2014 issue of the peer-reviewed medical journal Alternative Therapies.


National Institutes of Health – https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/cellphone-use-tied-to-changes-in-brain-activity/?_r=0

International Journal of Neuroscience – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21793784

Bioinitiative Report – http://www.bioinitiative.org/

Sage Reports Environmental Consultants – http://sagereports.com/smart-meter-rf/

Dr. Henry Lai’s Vienna Report on RFR Bioeffects – http://eon3emfblog.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Lais-Vienna-Report-re-RF-DNA-damage.pdf

American Academy of Environmental Medicine – https://aaemonline.org/pdf/AAEMEMFmedicalconditions.pdf

Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland, CA – http://www.medicaldaily.com/pregnant-women-exposed-magnetic-fields-risk-obese-children-241613#iTxe9gFRPcvSMI4B.99

EMF Safety Network – http://emfsafetynetwork.org/surevy-results-wireless-meters-impact-health-and-safety/

Dr. Ronald M. Powell Ph.D., doctorate in Applied Physics from Harvard University in 1975, and has worked for the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards – http://stopsmartmeters.org/2016/03/04/smart-meter-resources-from-ronald-powell-ph-d/

40+ More Smart Meter Research Studies – http://smartmeterdangers.org/smart-meter-research/

New York Bill Would Allow People to Opt Out of Smart Meters, Undermine Federal Program

New York Bill Would Allow People to Opt Out of Smart Meters, Undermine Federal Program

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 27, 2017) – A bill introduced in the New York Assembly would allow customers to opt out of installing “smart meter” technology on their homes and businesses. Passage of this bill would allow New Yorkers to protect their own privacy, and it would take a step toward blocking a federal program in effect.

Asm. Michael DenDekker (D – East Elmhurst) introduced Assembly Bill 6464 (A6464) on March 7 The legislation would allow New Yorkers to opt out of any utility company smart meter program with no penalty.

Smart meters monitor home energy usage in minute detail in real time. The devices transmit data to the utility company were it gets stored in databases. Anybody with access to the data can download it for analysts. Without specific criteria limiting access to the data, these devices create significant privacy issues. Smart meters can also be used to remotely limit power usage during peak hours.

A3066 provides a comprehensive smart meter opt-out right for utility customers.

It shall be the right of every customer of an electric and/or gas corporation, at no penalty, fee or service charge to decline the permission of his or her electric and/or gas corporation, (a) to replace  an existing  meter  at  such  customer’s  premises that is assigned to such customer’s account with a two-way smart meter  or (b) to  install  any two-way  smart  meter device at his or her property without such customer’s consent.

The legislation would also require utility companies to give customers 90 day notice before installing smart meter technology with a right to decline installation. It would further allow a customer to require removal of a smart meter with no charge for one year after installation.

A6464 is similar to a bill (A3066) introduced in the New York Assembly earlier this year.

Privacy Concerns

The proliferation of smart meters creates significant privacy concerns. The data collected can tell anybody who holds it a great deal about what goes on inside a home. It can reveal when residents are at home, asleep or on vacation. It can also pinpoint “unusual” energy use, and could someday serve to help enforce “energy usage” regulations. The ACLU summarized the privacy issues surrounding smart meters in a recent report.

“The temptation to use the information that will be collected from customers for something other than managing electrical loads will be strong – as it has been for cell phone tracking data and GPS information. Police may want to know your general comings and goings or whether you’re growing marijuana in your basement under grow lights. Advertisers will want the information to sell you a new washing machine to replace the energy hog you got as a wedding present 20 years ago. Information flowing in a smart grid will become more and more ‘granular’ as the system develops.”

The privacy issues aren’t merely theoretical. According to information obtained by the California ACLU, utility companies in the state have disclosed information gathered by smart meters on thousands of customers. San Diego Gas and Electric alone disclosed data on more than 4,000 customers. The vast majority of disclosures were in response to subpoenas by government agencies “often in drug enforcement cases or efforts to find specific individuals,” according to SFGate.

“Mark Toney, executive director of the Utility Reform Network watchdog group, said the sheer number of data disclosures made by SDG&E raised the possibility that government agencies wanted to sift through large amounts of data looking for patterns, rather than conducting targeted investigations.”

No Smart Meter, No Data

Refusing to allow a smart meter on your property is the only sure-fire way to ensure your energy use data won’t fall into the hands of government agents or private marketers, or end up stored in some kind of government database. Passage of A3066 would make opting out a legal option for New Yorkers and give them control over their own privacy.

Impact on Federal Program

The federal government serves as a major source of funding for smart meters. A 2009 program through the U.S. Department of Energy distributed $4.5 billion for smart grid technology. The initial projects were expected to fund the installation of 1.8 million smart meters over three years.

The federal government lacks any constitutional authority to fund smart grid technology. The easiest way to nullify such programs is to simply not participate. A6464 would make that possible. If enough states pass similar legislation, and enough people opt out, the program will go nowhere.

We’ve seen a similar opt out movement undermining Common Core in New York. Opting out follows a strategy James Madison advised in Federalist #46. “Refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” provides a powerful means to fight back against government overreach. Such actions in multiple states would likely be effective in bringing down federal smart meter programs.


A6464 was referred to the Assembly Energy Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.



The House just voted to wipe away the FCC’s landmark Internet privacy protections

The House just voted to wipe away the FCC’s landmark Internet privacy protections

March 28 at 7:37 PM

Congress sent proposed legislation to President Trump on Tuesday that wipes away landmark online privacy protections, the first salvo in what is likely to become a significant reworking of the rules governing Internet access in an era of Republican dominance.

In a party-line vote, House Republicans freed Internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast of protections approved just last year that had sought to limit what companies could do with information such as customer browsing habits, app usage history, location data and Social Security numbers. The rules also had required providers to strengthen safeguards for customer data against hackers and thieves.

The Senate has voted to nullify those measures, which were set to take effect at the end of this year. If Trump signs the legislation as expected, providers will be able to monitor their customers’ behavior online and, without their permission, use their personal and financial information to sell highly targeted ads — making them rivals to Google and Facebook in the $83 billion online advertising market.

The providers could also sell their users’ information directly to marketers, financial firms and other companies that mine personal data — all of whom could use the data without consumers’ consent. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission, which initially drafted the protections, would be forbidden from issuing similar rules in the future.

[Republicans voted to roll back landmark FCC privacy rules. Here’s what you need to know.]

Search engines and streaming-video sites already collect usage data on consumers. But consumer activists claim that Internet providers may know much more about a person’s activities because they can see all of the sites a customer visits.

And although consumers can easily abandon sites whose privacy practices they don’t agree with, it is far more difficult to choose a different Internet provider, the activists said. Many Americans have a choice of only one or two broadband companies in their area, according to federal statistics.

Advocates for tough privacy protections online called Tuesday’s vote “a tremendous setback for America.”

“Today’s vote means that Americans will never be safe online from having their most personal details stealthily scrutinized and sold to the highest bidder,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.

Supporters of Tuesday’s repeal vote argued that the privacy regulations stifle innovation by forcing Internet providers to abide by unreasonably strict guidelines.

”[Consumer privacy] will be enhanced by removing the uncertainty and confusion these rules will create,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who chairs the House subcommittee that oversees the FCC.

Policy analysts said the deregulatory effort may be the first of several that could alter the future of the Internet. Although regulators under President Barack Obama had moved to limit the power of Internet providers — by restricting what they could do with customer information and curbing their ability to block websites or slow down certain types of content — momentum appears to be moving in the opposite direction.

For example, consumer advocates fear that Congress or the FCC’s new Republican chairman, Ajit Pai, may seek to roll back the agency’s rules on net neutrality — the policy that forbids Internet providers from blocking content they don’t like or charging websites a fee to reach consumers over faster Internet speeds. Industry analysts said Tuesday that the FCC is also poised to deregulate the $40-billion-a-year industry for data connections used by hospitals, universities and ATMs.

Tuesday’s vote is a sign that Internet providers will be treated more permissively at a time when conservatives control the executive and legislative branches. That could be a boon for companies such as Verizon and Comcast as they race to become online advertising giants.

Internet providers have historically made their money from selling access to the Web. But now these providers are looking to increase their revenue by tapping the vast troves of data their customers generate as they visit websites, watch videos, read information and download apps.

Industry backers say that allowing providers to use data-driven targeting could benefit consumers by leading to more relevant advertisements and innovative business models. AT&T, for instance, used to offer Internet discounts to consumers in exchange for letting the company monitor their browsing history. With Tuesday’s vote, such programs could see a return, and be marketed as a way to access cheaper Internet — although consumer groups have criticized these plans as a way for providers to charge customers a premium for their privacy.

Tuesday’s vote took aim at FCC rules that were approved in October over strident Republican objections. At the time, the agency’s Democratic leadership argued that consumers deserved the same privacy protections governing legacy telephone service. As more Americans turn to the Internet to find jobs, do homework and seek education, the agency said, consumers needed new protections to keep pace with technology.

But industry advocates said the FCC’s rules defined privacy far too broadly. The industry favors the interpretation of another agency — the Federal Trade Commission — that does not consider browsing history or app usage data to be sensitive and protected.

But the FTC does not have the authority to punish Internet providers that violate its guidelines. That is because of a rule that leaves oversight of those companies to the FCC.

As a result, Tuesday’s vote may release Internet providers from the FCC’s privacy regulation, but the FTC would also be unable to enforce its own guidelines on the industry without new authority from Congress.

“One would hope — because consumers want their privacy protected — that they would be good actors, and they would ask permission and do these nice things,” said Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) in a House committee hearing Monday. “But there’s no law now that says they have to, and there’s no cop on the beat saying, ‘Hey, we caught you doing something.’ ”

Pai, the FCC chairman, called the legislation “appropriate” and blamed his Democratic predecessor for executive overreach. He also said that responsibility for regulating Internet providers should fall to the FTC.

“Moving forward, I want the American people to know that the FCC will work with the FTC to ensure that consumers’ online privacy is protected though a consistent and comprehensive framework,” Pai said. “The best way to achieve that result would be to return jurisdiction over broadband providers’ privacy practices to the FTC, with its decades of experience and expertise in this area.”

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecommunications, Internet access and the shifting media economy. Before joining The Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. Follow him at @b_fung.

Follow @b_fung


Action Alert – Two Wednesday, March 29 Meetings – Sedona Council & ACC at Clarkdale (+ a video!)

Just a reminder of the important meetings tomorrow, plus I wanted to let everyone know the ACC announced yesterday that it will be holding an APS rate case Public Comment Open Meeting in Flagstaff this Monday, April 3 at 6:00 p.m. in the Flagstaff City Council Chambers at 211 West Aspen Avenue.

On 2017-03-26 09:29, warren@woodward.rocks wrote:

Action Alert – Two Wednesday, March 29 Meetings – Sedona Council & ACC at Clarkdale (+ a video!)
Information & Perspective by Warren Woodward
Sedona, Arizona ~ March 26, 2017

[If you don’t live anywhere near northern AZ, Yavapai County or Sedona, just skip to the end of this alert and watch the video]

Mark your calendar. This Wednesday, March 29th, there will be two meetings that persons who have refused APS “smart” meters need to attend.

Sedona City Council will be taking public comment on APS’s “smart” meter related proposals at 3 p.m. in the Sedona City Council chambers at 102 Roadrunner Dr., Sedona.

Thanks to everyone’s emails, Sedona Council did not sign the rate case Settlement Agreement. However, the City did “retain the option to submit comment to the Arizona Corporation Commission about the case before the commission’s April 3 deadline for direct testimony to be filed in support of, or opposition to, the settlement.”

So the City is still in need of direction.

I strongly encourage everyone to attend and request that Council represent you in the APS rate case by actively rejecting and testifying against all of APS’s proposals in the Settlement Agreement which include:

  • Commercial and solar account holders no longer able to refuse a “smart” meter.
  • No more analog meters for customers who refuse, only non-transmitting digital meters.
  • A $5 a month charge for meter reading, and a $50 set-up fee for new refusals, even though customers who refuse “smart” meters are already subsidizing the financially unsustainable “smart” meters that they don’t need or want.

The Sedona Council meeting is scheduled to last two hours. If the crowd is huge — and I hope it is — your three minutes to speak may be shortened to two. So take that into consideration when you are preparing your remarks. Be prepared to make last minute edits.

Then later at 6 p.m. this Wednesday in Clarkdale, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) will be holding a Public Comment Open Meeting at the Verde Valley Campus of Yavapai College, Room 137, Building M, 601 Blackhills Drive, Clarkdale.

ACC Commissioners need to know that what APS has proposed is not right or acceptable.

If you have to choose between the two meetings, choose Sedona.

Even if you’ve already sent Council an email, choose Sedona. It’s very important that the City take a firm stance against all the APS proposals in the Settlement Agreement.

Sedona Council filed to intervene in the APS rate case to represent the many Sedonans who have rightfully refused having a bio-toxic surveillance device placed on their home or business. Sedona Council needs to know that if they do not actively oppose all of APS’s proposals then they will not be representing you.

Speaking of surveillance, here’s Jerry Day’s latest hard-hitting video on the subject of “smart” meter surveillance, The Role of Utility Meters in Mass Surveillance.

Somebody forwarded me his first video (now over two million views) back in 2011 when I didn’t know anything about “smart” meters, and as they say, the rest is history. I never thought I’d be doing this six years later.

Because I am an Intervenor in the APS rate case, I can’t speak at the Clarkdale ACC meeting so I won’t be going.

See ya at Sedona.

Cellphones, wifi and cancer: Will Trump’s budget cuts zap vital ‘electrosmog’ research?

Cellphones, wifi and cancer: Will Trump’s budget cuts zap vital ‘electrosmog’ research?

Just as long term research into the health impacts of the ‘electrosmog’ created by wifi and mobile phones is yielding its first results, it’s at risk of sudden termination from President Trump’s budget cuts, writes Paul Mobbs. But the cuts have little to do with saving money – and a lot to do with protecting corporate profit and economic growth from harsh truths, including evidence that electrosmog causes cancer in laboratory rats, and maybe humans too.

Trump’s cuts are aimed at removing any authoritative opposition to the liquidation of the Earth’s last natural resources – irrespective of the costs to human health and the environment.

Amidst concern over President Trump’s emasculation of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and cuts to the USA’s climate research, other ground-breaking areas of environmental research are being ignored.

For well-over a decade, at a cost of $25 million, a US National Toxicology Program study has been assessing the links between the use of mobile phones and rare, though increasing forms of cancer.

Unfortunately, before the results of this study are published, it may be ‘lost’ in the coming cuts.

Donald Trump’s policies are not ‘revolutionary’. They reflect a general opposition by right-wing lobby groups to environmental and social campaigns.

Just like the UK Coalition Government’s ‘Bonfire of the Quangos‘ in 2011/12, Trump’s cuts are aimed at removing any authoritative opposition to the liquidation of the Earth’s last natural resources – irrespective of the costs to human health and the environment.

Who will rid me of these turbulent scientists?

Given the USA’s lead in science and consumer technology, and the novel public health research such innovations generate, Trump’s new budget could have global implications for public health.

The Department for Health and Human Services (DHHS) funds the USA’s leading public health institutes. As part of Trump’s attempt to nullify environmental opposition in the USA, a long-standing objective of the political-right, the DHHS’ budget is being cut by 18%, or about $15.1 billion.

That will have wide-ranging effects on its dependent research agencies.

The National Toxicology Programme, maintained by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one such example. At present cuts to the NIH, which has seen increases in its funding over recent years, are believed to be around 20% of its budget, roughly $5.8 billion.

Ultimately it is up to the US Congress to decide on the precise level of funding. That in turn depends upon the willingness of the Republican majority to follow Trump’s ‘skinny’ budget proposals.

Concerns about mobile phone radiation

Historically concerns about radio frequency (RF) radiation – and the official claims of safety for mobile phone use – were based on its ‘heating’ effect. Microwaves, like those used in kitchen ovens, heat-up materials as they are absorbed.

The levels of heating caused by mobile phones were so small they were considered insignificant for health. On that basis governments, mobile phone companies, and just about everyone with an interest in mobile communications, claimed that their use entailed no public health risk.

However, even before their use became widespread in the last 10 to 15 years, the ‘heating’ hypothesis was challenged by evidence of health impacts associated with heavy mobile use – including headaches, skin irritation, nausea, and cancer.

Concerns over the ‘non-thermal level’ of health impacts began to arise in the 1990s, but the result of initial scientific reviews was essentially, ‘we don’t know‘.

There was insufficient evidence to assess the risks to human health.

The need for long-term studies

In 1999, the US Food and Drug Administration nominated the effects of mobile phone radiation for research by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP). That was because while mobile phone use had become widespread, little was known the about human health impacts of low level RF radiation exposure.

NTP designed a long-term study where animals would be irradiated by different kinds of mobile phone radiation – to take account of the differing mobile technologies. This was done in a closely controlled environment, so that the effects of mobile radiation could be differentiated from other confounding factors – something that many other studies have failed to do.

The study began, and… nothing; which is the issue with long-term exposure studies – they take time to produce a result.

In the interim various scientists recommended ‘precaution’ in the use of mobile phones. Though governments and the telecommunications industry have ignored that advice.

Category 2B: ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’

Another official study, carried out by the World Health Organization’s Interphone Study Group, published its results in 2010.

Using epidemiological data they concluded there was ‘no increase in risk’ of cancer – although they accepted there may be a weak association with one specific type of cancer, glioma, amongst the heaviest mobile users.

In 2011, contrary to the mollifying statements from the industry, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared that

“the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B [possibly carcinogenic to humans] classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.”

In response to the IARC statement, the European Environment Agency recommended, “taking a precautionary approach to policy making in this area.”

As yet that call has not been heeded by many EU governments and regulators. And certainly not in the UK, where wireless connectivity is seen as a driver of economic growth.

Wifi and the exponential growth of connectivity

From the 2000s, research widened beyond mobile phones to look at all forms of wireless communication – given that the use of WiFi had become widespread.

Around this time stories began to emerge about ‘electrosensitive’ people who were adversely affected by RF radiation. Sometimes mocking, these articles often claimed ‘no proof‘ – though symptoms were demonstrable, and research studies have shown that some people are able to sense RF radiation within the bounds of statistical certainty.

Again, as with early mobile phone studies, WiFi-related studies produced no certain outcomes for human health – due to the lack of controlled research.

As a result, and without requiring that a safety case be proven, governments and the industry have rolled-out the installation of WiFi across society.

The political bias against ‘precaution’

The difficulty is that studies which produced no clear-cut result tend, on the basis of the precautionary approach, to call for preventative action in advance of certain scientific evidence.

Precautionary action is mandated under United Nations agreements on sustainability, and under European law.

Unfortunately the ‘precautionary principle’ is one of the issues which is toxic to right-wing politicians (especially in the USA). They believe it harms economic growth as it seeks to restrict people’s rights to pollute or damage the environment.

The lack of precautionary action has meant that the use of all kinds of high-frequency communication systems has grown exponentially. Most notably, WiFi. Not only in the home, where we have a ‘choice’ of exposure, but also deliberately installed in public places – often with government support and financing.

Clearly on the ‘thermal’ effects issue, it is true that the effect is insignificant. But the possibility of ‘non-thermal’ mechanisms which are deleterious to human health cannot be excluded.

Given the consistent evidence of some kind of ‘non-thermal’ causal mechanism for health impacts, there is no proof that mobile phones or WiFi systems are safe.

2016: NTP’s results begin to trickle out

Well over a decade after it started the National Toxicology Program’s long-term study started to yield results. In May 2016 the NTP released a draft report on the study’s findings. A review in Science summed-up the results:

“Male rats exposed to cellphone radiation in a large US government study were more likely to develop rare brain and heart cancers, a preliminary analysis has found, adding weight to concerns the ubiquitous devices could pose a health risk to people.”

A more detailed review in Scientific American highlighted the finding of a correlation between exposure to RF radiation and increasing cancer rates in the exposed group of rats.

While accepting the results were not definitive, researchers commented that the use of so many animals over such a long period was significant, and raises serious question about the safety of mobile phones. At the same time sceptics, quite rightly, pointed out that the draft was an incomplete, un-reviewed digest of the findings of the research project.

One, as yet unpublished aspect of the final report will be the description of a mechanism by which ‘non-thermal’ effects might give rise to cancer. For example, by creating breaks in DNA, which, as discovered 20 years ago, can cause mutations which might give rise to cancer.

The NTP’s scientists are currently working toward producing a final report on the study. Last week NTP announced that a research paper would not be published in its own right. Instead a final report would be published in December 2017.

This is why the possible cuts to the NTP’s budget are problematic. They could be used as a pretext for preventing the final publication of the results.

Might there be industry pressure to kill the study?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information on their website which states: “Can using a cell phone cause cancer? There is no scientific evidence that provides a definite answer to that question.”

There is also a sidebar entitled: “Why has the information on this page been updated?” That sidebar is the result of a controversy stoked over changes to the original format of the page – which indicated that mobile phone users should take a more cautious approach to their use.

The events surrounding that are outlined in a New York Times article, based on emails released after a freedom of information request, which outlined the pressure applied to the CDC to change its public advice.

One of the groups leading the campaign against warnings on the use of mobile phones was Breitbart – the ‘alt-right’ news site, run at that time by Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

However, there is hope that the results will emerge, somehow. When I put the possibility of the industry pressuring the US government to bury the NTP’s report to Dr. Louis Slesin, the editor of Microwave News, he commented:

“A possible indirect effect is that the Trump administration could hold up the release of the report as a favor to the telecom industry. If that were to happen, I would hope that the report might be leaked – as was the case with those preliminary results we published last May, which prompted the NTP to officially release them a few days later.”

Why the evidence demands precautionary action

Recently a key paper on the effects of mobile phones on cancer rates in Britain had to be corrected. It had used the wrong data. What the new data showed was an increasing incidence of glioma in the UK – one of the cancers highlighted in the NTP’s study, as well as the Interphone study which had dismissed a link to cancer.

Yet the official advice from the UK’s NHS is that “most current research suggests it’s unlikely that radio waves from mobile phones or base stations increase the risk of any health problems.”

There is insufficient research to demonstrate the health effects from mobile phones and, perhaps more significantly due to the longer-term exposure, from WiFi – though evidence of effects does exist.

Yet despite the calls for ‘precaution’ from scientists, year on year, the ‘flux’ of high frequency electromagnetic energy in the environment continues to grow stronger, as use of these systems grows exponentially.

The global mobile phone industry has revenues of around a trillion dollars. And in addition to workplace and home computers, WiFi enables the ‘Internet of Things’ – which is forecast to quadruple in size by 2020 to a market worth $4 billion.

If more definite evidence on the health impacts of mobile communications and WiFi arises over the next few years, will our politicians and regulators be able to stand-up to that kind of economic pressure? – as well as public pressure from addicted mobile users?.

There is a long-standing debate over ‘safety’ in our modern, technological world. In particular, the role of radiation to that overall level of safety. In part that’s because radiation is a ‘involuntary’ risk; by its nature, you have no choice to avoid its hazards if your environment is polluted by it.

The difficulty is that personal choice is removed when public spaces are being deliberately ‘wired’ for wireless communications. Most notably, WiFi in public buildings and on public transport. People may wish to limits their exposure, but society is not allowing that because of its incessant drive towards mobile communications.

As the social and economic pressure for wireless connectivity grows, how are we limit our exposure to RF radiation?





The Secret Inside Your Cellphone

Published on Mar 24, 2017

As new science fuels the debate about cellphone safety, we take a closer look at a little known message inside your cellphone’s settings and manual telling you to keep the device 5 to 15 mm away from your body. We ask why this message exists, why it’s so hidden, and whether Health Canada is doing enough to protect us.
Watch more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvdO0…
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