The SmartMeter backfiring privacy issue

The SmartMeter backfiring privacy issue (May 12, 2011). Hmm. Is revealing details of an individual’s utility bill a privacy issue? Apparently not when Anthony could delight in partisan intrusions into Al Gore’s private life back in 2007 and 2009 (Gore snubs Earth Hour). Now of course it’s about institutional intrusion, which makes it a bad thing.

Here’s Anthony’s take on “smart meters”:

The promise was to help you control your electricity bill by becoming more aware of your energy use. The downside is that with the data gathered, other people and businesses can also become more aware of your habits, like when you go to work, go on vacation, etc. Is the potential energy savings worth the invasion of privacy trade-off? I sure don’t think so. I really don’t want PG&E or anyone else for that matter knowing how I live my life inside my own home.

Well, here’s something I agree with Anthony, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, on: commercial entities have a responsibility to protect the personal information of their customers. That means securing the data transmissions and protecting the gathered information.

But what about the intended purpose of smart meters, enabling consumers to save money by identifying their most significant energy usages and by better aligning their usage with low-demand periods? After-all even Anthony drives a hybrid car and has a wind turbine; efficiency and self-sufficiency are positive characteristics in themselves.

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