Monday, June 11, 2012

Smart Meters Are 'Massive Surveillance' Tech

Source: The Register

The European Data Protection Supervisor has warned that smart meters are a significant privacy threat and wants limits on the retention and use of customer data before it's too late.

Peter Hustinx, who fills the role with the assistance of Giovanni Buttarelli, admits there are advantages of smart metering, but warns that the technology will "also enable massive collection of personal data which can track what members of a household do within the privacy of their own homes". He pulls up examples of baby monitors and medical devices, which have identifiable patterns of energy consumption and could therefore be used to monitor what people are doing.

That might sound fanciful, but researchers have already demonstrated that the pattern of energy consumed by a decent flat-screen TV can be used to work out what programme is being watched, and Hustinx is probably right that this isn't information most of us would wish to share with our electricity providers.

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