Five People Who Want to Invade Your Smart Meter Privacy And Why

Your smart meter collects thousands of data points about your energy use, from when you wake up and make coffee to when you turn off the TV and go to bed, but who would want this information and why?

Marketers can’t buy information from your utility company, but hope to access your data by getting you to sign an authorization form for release of your smart meter information. And there aren’t rules regarding third-parties, such as websites, software, mobile apps or electronic displays that help monitor energy usage.

Imagine getting a call from your computer’s manufacturer informing you that your use voided your warranty.

Imagine getting on-screen advertising for new dryers from Samsung and Whirlpool when energy use showed you had to run your dryer longer than usual.

Imagine your health insurance going up because you never use your treadmill or your home insurance going up because you don’t actually set that fancy alarm that got you a discount.

Law enforcement traditionally must get a search warrant to access meter data from your utility company, just like they would to search anywhere else in your home. Those protections don’t apply to data revealed to third parties—such as a company that helps you monitor your energy use online or from a smart phone, or a company that makes a counter-top device to monitor energy use.

Criminals, such as burglars, vandals or abusive partners could monitor real-time data and patterns to see when your house is vacant—or not.

Abusive partners may be able to track and monitor victims who have gone into hiding by using personal information transmitted through the Smart Grid.

Identity thieves and computer hackers could gain access to your unique data from the smart grid, and either match it to other financial data, or use it to fraudulently impersonate you as a utility customer, ruining your credit.