Secure Your Family from Cyber Threats with an Analog Meter, Says Michigan State Senator

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

The Michigan House Energy Policy Committee has been conducting hearings on legislation that would restore consumer protections regarding the type of meters that are installed upon their personal property by utility companies.  I provided coverage of these hearings in two previous articles. [1] [2]

In this article I would like to focus on the March 7, 2017, testimony of state Senator Patrick Colbeck, who says:

“One of the ways our citizens can secure their own family from [the] threats to our power grid is to opt out of so-called smart meters and retain analog meters, which have served us well for decades.  Cybersecurity threats today are very real.” [3]

“Against this increased risk, there is little to no consumer benefit to the adoption of smart meters.” [3]

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Expert Testimony on Smart Meters/Grid: “Retain analog systems to the extent possible.”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

Cynthia Ayers is a national security threat analyst, currently working as an independent consultant within the Mission Control and Cyber Division of the Center for Strategic Leadership, U.S. Army War College.  She is also serving as Deputy to the Executive Director of the Congressionally sponsored Task Force on National and Homeland Security.

On March 7, 2017, Ayers presented testimony before the Michigan House Committee on Energy Policy.  Her testimony included an analysis of how smart meters introduce safety and security threats to the electric grid and to civilization itself.  Continue reading

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CIA Looks to Spy on Private Lives through “Smart” Devices

PRESS STATEMENT: (March 7, 2017) Privacy International Reaction to Vault 7 Leaks

Privacy International Executive Director Dr Gus Hosein said:

“If today’s leaks are authenticated, they demonstrate what we’ve long been warning about government hacking powers — that they can be extremely intrusive, have enormous security implications, and are not sufficiently regulated.  Insufficient security protections in the growing amount of devices connected to the internet or so-called “smart” devices, such as Samsung Smart TVs, only compound the problem, giving governments easier access to our private lives.

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The Law is Clear: Details of the Home Are Entitled to the Utmost Fourth Amendment Protection

Invasion of Privacy with SM and LogoA Press Release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):

An Illinois Court Just Didn’t Get It: We Are Entitled to Expect Privacy In Our Smart Meter Data, Which Reveals What’s Going On Inside Our Homes

March 1, 2017 | By Karen Gullo and Jamie Williams

Cities across the country are switching to wireless smart meters.  You may even have one in your home.  Utility companies say the new technology helps consumers monitor their energy use and potentially save money.  But smart meters also reveals intimate details about what’s going on inside the home.  By collecting energy use data at high frequencies—typically every 5, 15, or 30 minutes—smart meters know exactly how much electricity is being used, and when.  Patterns in your smart meter data can reveal when you are home, when you are sleeping, when you take a shower, and even whether you cook dinner on the stove or in the microwave.  These are all private details about what’s going on inside your home—details that should be clearly within the bounds of Fourth Amendment protection.

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Advocacy Groups Raise Concerns about Privacy Implications of Smart Meter Data in Newly Filed Brief

PRESS RELEASE (February 28, 2017):  Privacy International & the Electronic Frontier Foundation Raise Concerns about Privacy Implications of Smart Meter Data In Newly Filed Brief Continue reading

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Privacy Advocacy Groups Submit Amicus Brief Opposing Smart Meter Fourth Amendment Violations

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Amicus CuriaeLast week I posted an article describing how the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group (NSMA) had filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit requesting a reversal of a lower court dismissal of its alleged Fourth Amendment violation claims. [1] [2]

This week two privacy advocacy groups, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Privacy International, jointly filed a motion with the Court to file an attached amicus brief in support of NSMA on the smart meter-related case. [3]

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Smart Meter Data Analysis Enables Consumer Profiling with “Alarmingly High Accuracy”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

smart-meter-privacy-alert-clipartFrom a recent peer-reviewed industry article [1], here is what is stated about the issue of privacy and smart meters for the “end user” of electricity:

“Conventional meters were only capable of measuring and displaying the aggregate consumption. The data was collected manually in intervals defined by utility company for billing.  Smart meters however, are capable of collecting information with higher frequencies, i.e., every 15 min.  Initial AMI deployed projects in Ontario, Canada, sustain readings at intervals of 5 to 60 min.  Current technologies even allow for measurements every minute.  By analyzing smart meter’s data, it is possible to perform ‘consumer profiling’ with an alarmingly high accuracy.  Examples range from how many people live in the house, duration of occupancy, type of appliances, security and alarming systems, to inferring special conditions such as medical emergencies or [a] new born baby.

Profiling allows extracting residents’ behavior even without utilization of sophisticated algorithms and computer aided tools.  Murrill and colleagues have shown that it is possible to identify the use of major appliances in a house, by analyzing only a 15 min interval cumulative energy consumption data.  Molina-Markham et al. have shown that with the current general statistical schemes it is possible to identify the usage pattern from AMI data even without the detailed signatures of appliances or previous training.”

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Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group Appeals to Higher Court on Fourth Amendment Violations

Court Gavelby K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

The Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group (NSMA) has filed its legal brief [1] with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit after a Federal District Court entered a final judgment against NSMA late last year.

Key Points Made in Appeal Brief

  • As a matter of law, NSMA members have a reasonable expectation of privacy for data acquired from inside their homes.  The Kyllo case, as precedent, held that because of the special sanctity of the home, residents automatically have a reasonable expectation of privacy in all material and data inside their home.  Yet the district court ignored this fundamental Fourth Amendment principle.
  • Utility “smart meters” collect detailed electricity usage data that can reveal intimate information about residents’ personal lives within their homes.
  • Warrantless collection of smart meter data (beyond that necessary for the basic delivery of electric service) without consent is an illegal “search,” regardless of whether or how that data is later analyzed or used.

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We’re Being “Hunted” by Smart Meters and the Internet of Things

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

were-being-hunted-by-smart-meters-and-iotBecause of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the deployment of devices like utility smart meters we are quickly losing our personal freedom and liberty and further heading toward Orwell’s 1984 [1].  For those aware of what is happening, we realize that “We’re being hunted,” and that, “We feel like prey.”  This process must be reversed if we are to regain our rights as a free people.

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Smart Meter Deployments Result in a Cyber Attack Surface of “Unprecedented Scale”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

cyber-attack-surface-of-unprecedented-scaleThe Internet of Things (IoT) involves an Internet which will evolve from connecting just machines and people towards connecting “smart” objects and things.  The electric utility industry is currently developing an IoT-based smart grid (SG).  This SG is envisioned as the largest installation of an IoT network for our future world with literally billions of smart objects and things, such as smart meters, smart appliances, and other sensors [1].

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