Smart Meters Enable Ongoing Surveillance of Residents

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.” [1]

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.”

The Facts

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”

References

[1] 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

Copyright Notice © SkyVision Solutions and Smart Grid Awareness, 2013 – 2018.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of original material from this site without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to SkyVision Solutions and Smart Grid Awareness with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About SkyVision Solutions

Raising public awareness and finding solutions for smart grid issues related to invasions of privacy, data security, cyber threats, health and societal impacts, as well as hazards related to radiofrequency (RF) radiation emissions from all wireless devices, including smart meters.
This entry was posted in Smart Grid, Smart Meters, and RF Emissions. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Smart Meters Enable Ongoing Surveillance of Residents

  1. John Advent says:

    I really think you are correct they are indeed surveillance devices, Great article keep up the good work.

  2. Nancy says:

    Thank you for keeping up the good fight on this invasive technology! I wish all utility managers and commissioners would read your website and its very informative articles.

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