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Saturday, May 14, 2011

1984 Looks Like Child's Play: Company to Use Collected Smart Grid Info to Create Your "Digital Fingerprint"


Recently I wrote an article exposing the detailed information that the utility company, and possible the Government, will be collecting on you via the Smart Grid. As if that isn't bad enough, it may get worse.

The old saying Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely seems to apply to Data Collection as well. Just when it seems the Private sector is going to get access to mountains of personal information that was unavailable before, someone feels that they have to think of ways to use it.

According to an Article on Greenbang.com, a company called Grid Glo is doing just that by utilizing the collected information from the Smart Grid, and other information collected from other sources, to create your "Real Time Digital Footprint":

"a Florida startup says it aims make utilities even smarter by bringing yet more data into play. Delray Beach-based GridGlo asserts that data fusion is the way to go for utility firms looking to make smart-grid improvements pay off for them financially in even bigger ways.

The company claims its cloud-based, platform-as-a-service offering can provide “deep insight into energy behaviour patterns” by analysing not only data from advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) but a host of other sources, ranging from demographics and satellite imagery to financial data and social behaviour information.

GridGlo has used such disparate data sources to develop what it calls an “EPM” score (EPM stands for “Energy People Meter”). The EPM score, which can range from 1 to 1,000, provides utilities with “a real-time digital fingerprint of people’s energy behaviour patterns.” The score is calculated from data across four areas: behavioural (which includes location, activity and weather factors), demographic (a person’s gender, age, income, education and household composition), premise characteristics (type of building, windows, heating/cooling systems, appliances, etc.) and energy consumption (which includes data from meters, distributed energy sources, electric vehicles and home-area-network devices).

Using Google Earth-type information, for example, GridGlo can identify which homes in a utility’s service area have solar panels on their roofs."

As disturbing as that sounds, it gets much worse as the Author of the article explains:

"GridGlo is also exploring some other intriguing applications based on consumer energy data, including a demand forecasting tool that can work at the individual-premise level and a risk management tool that could help predict potential energy theft or consumer financial health problems.

(There’s another privacy concern-raising possibility: could utilities change how they charge or serve people based on the expectation that a customer might lose his or her job and income? It’s almost the energy equivalent of DNA analysis, where some worry that insurance companies or employers could discriminate against people based on their genetic makeup."

Imagine what the Government could do with all the Data Collected and Analyzed in a system like Grid Glo's? It would make "1984" look like child's play.

As you can see, the Detailed Data Collected through the Smart Grid, combined with other Collected Data, poses a Huge Threat to our Individual Personal Privacy....

And an Undeniable Threat to our Personal Freedom.

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