Smart Meters: “A Surveillance-capable Infrastructure”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

In a letter dated May 25, 2017, the ACLU of Washington raised “significant concerns about the lack of protections for privacy, as well as lack of transparency, in the implementation of Seattle City Light’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure.” [1] [2]

Although the concerns specifically address the planned smart meter program for Seattle, Washington, many of the identified issues apply to all smart meters being deployed across the nation and the world. Continue reading

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Dr. Samuel Milham: “Smart meters are a public health hazard.”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

As part of direct testimony [1] filed in an electric utility rate case in Arizona, Samuel Milham, M.D., M.P.H. stated:

“It is my professional opinion that smart meters are a public health hazard.”

Dr. Milham (physician-epidemiologist) is the author of Dirty Electricity as well as over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications.  Dr. Milham’s assertion is that adverse health effects can be caused by the “electrical pollution (dirty electricity) generated by the smart meter SMPS [switching mode power supply].”

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Deflating the Propaganda Argument on How Smart Meter Opt-Outs Shift Extra Costs to Ratepayers

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

In order to penalize consumers who do not wish to take on the additional safety and security risks associated with smart meters, utilities typically charge those customers punitive fees.  They justify or rationalize these fees by proclaiming that other customers should not subsidize the few consumers refusing smart meters.

In actuality, those customers refusing smart meter risks are simply requesting a “same level of service” with a traditional analog meter.  Logically, in those circumstances, why should there be any change in how the customer is billed for electric service?

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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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