No More Privacy in the Era of Smart Meters

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ENDOFTHEAMERICANDREAM– Have you heard about the new “smart meters” that are being installed in homes all across America?  Under the guise of “reducing greenhouse gas emissions” and “reducing energy bills”, utility companies all over the United States are forcing tens of millions of American families to accept sophisticated surveillance devices in their homes.  Currently, approximately 9 percent of all electric meters in the U.S. have been converted over to smart meters. 

It is being projected that by 2012, the number of smart meters in use will rise to 52 million, and the federal government is spending a lot of money to help get these installed everywhere.  Eventually the goal is to have these smart meters in all of our homes and if that ever happened there would essentially be no more privacy.  Once installed, a smart meter monitors your home every single minute of every single day and it transmits very sophisticated data about your personal behavior back to the utility company.

So can’t we just tell the utility companies that we don’t want these stupid things?

Unfortunately, in many areas of the country you can’t.  For example, one outraged resident of California contacted the utility company and was told that if he did not consent to taking a smart meter he would receive no service.

So unless you want to live “off the grid”, what are you going to do?  Can any of us really survive without electricity these days?

The sad truth is that these things are being forced upon us.

It is happening in Europe too.  The European Parliament has set a goal of having smart meters in the homes of 80 percent of all electricity consumers by the year 2020.

Sadly, as these smart meters have gone in there have been reports all over the country of electricity bills increasing dramatically.  There have been mountains of complaints about these things and yet their use keeps spreading.

But of course the biggest issue with smart meters is how they will strip us of our privacy.

The concern is that the incredibly detailed data that these surveillance devices collect will be given or sold to a vast array of third parties.

For example, smart meters are already being used by police to bust marijuana growers.

It is also feared that insurance companies, credit agencies, lawyers, marketing firms and even criminals will be able to get their hands on this data as well.

A recent article posted on the website of the Electronic Frontier Foundation summarized some of the concerns….

“Without strong protections, this information can and will be repurposed by interested parties. It’s not hard to imagine a divorce lawyer subpoenaing this information, an insurance company interpreting the data in a way that allows it to penalize customers, or criminals intercepting the information to plan a burglary. Marketing companies will also desperately want to access this data”

For law enforcement officials, these surveillance devices are a dream come true. According to the Columbus Dispatch, police in central Ohio have been filing at least 60 subpoenas every single month for the energy-use records of those that they suspect are growing pot in their homes.

Well, it turns out that sometimes police are raiding homes that are using a lot of energy and they don’t find any marijuana at all.  Instead, sometimes these raids reveal others kinds of activities….

Sometimes, high electricity use doesn’t lead investigators to drugs. A federal investigation in the Powell area turned into a surprise for detectives.

“We thought it was a major grow operation … but this guy had some kind of business involving computers,” Marotta said. “I don’t know how many computer servers we found in his home.”

So do you want police raiding your home if you start using a little bit too much electricity?

Continue reading about Smart Meters Mean no More Privacy.

© 2011 End of the American Dream

Jerry Day further explains many of these important points in this excellent clip.

Photo by flickr user digitpedia

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