(image courtesy of Tom Wilson's presentation at the 2011 Wireless Safety Summit)

During the second phase of smart grid implementation, homes will have a home area network (HAN), which transmits electric usage information, except for Dominion Power in Virginia. New "smart appliances" will be equipped with "smart" chips designed to record and transmit when you began using the appliance, how long, and when you stopped using it.  This information will be communicated via the Home Area Network using microwave radiation to the smart meter. The smart meter will communicate the data to your neighbor's smart meter and so on in a microwave radiation spider web until it reaches a collector meter. The collection meter transmits all of the neighborhood usage data so that it eventually reaches the utility.

According to a February 2012 Congressional Research Service Reportthe Department of Energy reported that by matching data with known appliance load signatures, smart meters will be able to reveal people’s daily schedules, their appliances and electronic equipment, and whether they use certain types of medical equipment. [1] Utilities will have the data to discern the behavior of occupants in their home over a period of time. This mandatory device on our homes will track more private information than a GPS affixed to a criminal’s car, even though the US Supreme Court Case determined that a warrant was needed in the GPS case.  The Electronic Privacy Information Center cites a list of potential privacy consequences of Smart Grid Systems including, identity theft, activity censorship, profiling, tracking behavior of renters/leasers, and real-time surveillance.

2 Murrill, Brandon J., Liu, Edward C., and Thompson, Richard M., Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity, Congressional Research Service, February 3, 2012. Page 4

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