by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions
On January 16, 2018, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) commented on proposed smart meter-related legislation in the state of Maryland stating that:
“Smart meters collect detailed personal data about the use of utility services. With a smart meter, it is possible to determine when a person is in a residence, and what they are doing. Moreover the routine collection of this data, without adequate privacy safeguards, would enable ongoing surveillance of … residents without regard to any criminal suspicion.” 
The EPIC comment letter was written in order to support proposed legislation which would prohibit law enforcement from obtaining utility data recorded by a smart meter, in the course of an investigation, without a search warrant.
Unfortunately, utility companies and the smart grid industry generally deny that smart meters are capable of spying on consumers in the first place. For example:
1) In a Commonwealth Edison Privacy ‘Fact Sheet’ it is stated that:
“Just like standard meters, smart meters will measure the amount of electricity you use – not how you use it. They are not surveillance devices. Smart meters only contain the meter identifier and total energy information.”
2) On page 18 of a legal brief filed by the City of Naperville, Illinois, on May 15, 2017, in the case of Naperville Smart Meter Awareness (NSMA) v. City of Naperville (Case 1:11-CV-09299), available at: https://skyvisionsolutions.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/city-response-to-nsma-appeal-16-3766-doc-36.pdf, the City states:
“Measurement of electricity usage by a utility is not surveillance.”
Utilities claim that smart meters are not surveillance devices, yet the repeated data gathering by smart meters beyond that required for billing purposes can reasonably be considered to represent unwanted surveillance and stalking.
The recent letter from EPIC is just one more piece of evidence provided at this website that smart meters are indeed surveillance devices.
Additional recommended reading: Smart Meter Data Analysis Enables Consumer Profiling with “Alarmingly High Accuracy”
 Letter from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) to the Maryland House of Delegates, dated January 16, 2018, available at https://epic.org/privacy/smartgrid/EPIC-to-MD-Del-Carr-011618.pdf