UK Prime Minister on Smart City Risks

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Calls for ethical and responsible technology

Excerpts from his speech to the United Nations:

“You may keep your secrets from your friends, from your parents, your children, your doctor, even your personal trainer, but it takes real effort to conceal your thoughts from Google. And if that is true today, in future there may be no where to hide.”

“Smart cities will pullulate with sensors all joined together by the internet of things.”

“This technology could also be used to keep every citizen under round the clock surveillance.”

“Your mattress will monitor your nightmares, your fridge will beep for more cheese.” 

“A giant dark thundercloud [of data] waiting to burst.” 

“Data is the crude oil of the modern economy”

“Can these algorithms be trusted with our lives and hopes? Should the machines, and only the machines, decide whether or not we are eligible for a mortgage or insurance or what surgery or medicines we should receive. Are we doomed to a cold and heartless future in which computer says yes or computer says no with the grim finality of an emperor in the arena? How do you plead with an algorithm?”

“I believe governments have been simply caught unawares by the unintended consequences of the internet- a scientific breakthrough- far more reaching in its everyday psychological impact than any other invention since Gutenberg…like nuclear power- in that it’s capable of both good and harm.”

“HOW we design the emerging technologies behind these breakthroughs and what values inform their design will shape the future of humanity. That is my point to you “

“At stake is whether we bequeath an Orwellian world, designed for censorship, repression and control, or a world of emancipation, debate and learning, where technology threatens famine and disease, but not our freedoms.”

“The mission of the United Kingdom and all who share our values must be to ensure that emerging technologies are designed from the outset for freedom, openness and pluralism with the right safeguards in place to protect our people.”

Read a transcript of his speech here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-24-september-2019

Privacy International & the Electronic Frontier Foundation Raise Concerns About Privacy Implications of Smart Meters

Privacy International (PI) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus brief in the case of Naperville Smart Meter Awareness v. City of Naperville before the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

PI and EFF argue that usage data from smart electricity meters differs quantitatively and qualitatively from analog electricity meters, revealing intimate details regarding a person’s private in-home activities.

PI and EFF argue that an Illinois District Court’s decision that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in aggregate electrical usage data, regardless of whether the data is collected by a smart meter or analog meter, is flawed and that the Court’s decision should be reversed.

Patterns generated by smart meter data can be used to infer how many individuals reside in a home as well as their activities, habits, and rhythms of movement, including when they leave their home and when they go to sleep.

Smart meter data can even reveal which appliances are functioning at a given time, allowing one to infer, for example, when residents consume meals, take showers, watch TV, and use exercise equipment.

Privacy International Legal Officer Scarlet Kim said: “The transition from analog meters to smart meters — from a single monthly reading of energy usage to thousands of data points per month — transforms a blunt record of kilowatts consumed into a deeply personal snapshot of a person’s life. The data protection and privacy implications of collecting this data are not confined to Illinois but resonate around the world.”

Electronic Frontier Foundation Staff Attorney Jamie Williams said: “The lower court made false assumptions about how smart meter technology works, and its decision is a threat to the privacy of the 57 million and counting American homes with this new technology.”

For more information: https://smartgridawareness.org/2017/02/28/privacy-advocacy-groups-amicus-brief-on-smart-meters/

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Smart Meter Film- Take Back Your Power- Watch NOW!

Take Back Your Power, Josh Del Sol’s full length documentary film on Smart Meters is now available to watch online (72 hr. rental) or purchase.

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Take Back Your Power

Utility companies are replacing electricity, gas and water meters worldwide with new generation “smart” meters at an unprecedented rate. Take Back Your Power investigates the benefits and risks of this ubiquitous “smart” grid program, with insight from insiders, expert researchers, politicians, doctors, and concerned communities. Transparency advocate Josh del Sol takes us on a journey of revelation and discovery, as he questions corporations’ right to tap our private information and erode our rights in the name of “green”. What you discover will surprise you, unsettle you, and inspire you to challenge the status quo.

“Smart” Meters & Surveillance: What Are Your Rights Worth?

Take Back Your Power film is now available to watch online!
Click here to Watch Take Back Your Power

Here’s their latest trailer on surveillance.

Smart meter surveillance use confirmed

SpyToday the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed utilities are giving customers smart meter data to the government and third parties.  Reporter David Baker writes, “Phone records and e-mail aren’t the only kinds of personal data that government agencies can collect on Americans.  They can look at your home’s energy use, too.  And that information can be revealing.”

Smart meters are a surveillance tool, best described by Jerry Day in this video– which has reached over 1.7 million viewers.  And now we have proof that if you have a smart meters on your home, your privacy: what you do in your home, or if your not home, when you cook, watch TV, or  if you get up in the middle of the night is provided to third parties for “legal” purposes when requested.  The smart meter data when analyzed  shows a detailed pattern of your life.

The Northern California ACLU writes, “transparency reports filed by the California utilities companies and obtained by the ACLU of California show that a significant amount of data about the energy use of Californians is also ending up in the hands of third parties.  In 2012, a single California utility company, San Diego Gas & Electric, disclosed the smart meter energy records of over 4,000 of its customers. “

The “privacy” rules, adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) allows disclosure of smart meter data for legal purposes, or pursuant to situations of imminent threat to life or property.  San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) disclosed the records of 4,062 customers. PG&E disclosed 86 and SCE disclosed one.

“In 4,000 of those [SDGE] cases, the information was subpoenaed by government agencies, often in drug enforcement cases or efforts to find specific individuals, according to the utility. The other 62 disclosures came as the result of subpoenas in civil lawsuits. Some of the released information focused solely on billing information, account addresses and other data that could be used to locate an individual.” David Baker- SF Chronicle

According to the ACLU “a single legal request can potentially result in the disclosure of millions of customers’ records.”

More: ACLU website.