Author Topic: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You  (Read 9151 times)

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Offline SgtRock

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Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« on: September 24, 2012, 02:01:10 am »
Greetings EEVBees:

--I just noticed the below article. Does anybody happen to know anything more about this one?

http://www.theage.com.au/it-pro/government-it/smart-meter-data-shared-far-and-wide-20120922-26dvp.html

"I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams."
Hamlet, scene ii.

Best Regards
Clear Ether
 

Offline poptones

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2012, 02:14:59 am »
Oh of course. These are widely despised by loons here in the states who insist the EMI they produce makes them sick and so forth. This is my favorite video on the subject, I love how this guy spends considerable effort instilling fear that the electric company will be watching every time the old women in the audience are using their vibrators.

 

Offline Pentium100

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2012, 02:36:15 am »
The "dumb" electromechanical meters work just fine, why change them?
 

Offline DrGeoff

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Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 02:47:53 am »
The "dumb" electromechanical meters work just fine, why change them?
Because they can charge a lot more. Time-of-day metering is a huge bonus for power distributors.
Was it really supposed to do that?
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2012, 02:49:45 am »
The "dumb" electromechanical meters work just fine, why change them?
Because they can charge a lot more. Time-of-day metering is a huge bonus for power distributors.

You can do that without a 'smart' meter.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2012, 05:20:31 am »
True, but the smart meter can be polled to give near real time usage, and there isw no audit trail for pricing, so the customer cannot dispute pricing. Basically allows charging with a copy of the US tax code ( currently 9000 pages plus) as the rate manual.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2012, 11:48:10 am »
I asked Origin Energy directly and this is their public response:

Quote
Origin Smart is an opt-in product where you can choose to provide part or all of your household profile.
Consumption data is shared with partners only to meet service obligations see tinyurl.com/8sfu6om for more info.

Dave.
 

Offline DrGeoff

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2012, 12:14:59 pm »
The "dumb" electromechanical meters work just fine, why change them?
Because they can charge a lot more. Time-of-day metering is a huge bonus for power distributors.

You can do that without a 'smart' meter.

Of course you can, but you can conceal the severity of the price increases with a smart meter. Each of the times and changes can be adjusted to maximise return, once you have enough data about the demand profiles on a fine grained scale. The detail that the distribution company gets from the meter cannot be easily read from the meter by the consumer (unless you know the tricks to get around preventing it). I have 3 such meters (one per phase) and they only give total kWh readings, there's no breakdown of amount per charging interval. Unless you hack up and optical interface to it.
Was it really supposed to do that?
 

Offline bullet308

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2012, 12:51:05 pm »
I hate to say it, but as much criticism as I read regarding the US on this forum (a fair bit of it well-deserved, I concede), it is Australia that has quite the international reputation for having lots of repressive Internet, IT, and IP stuff going on. Just sayin'.
>>>BULLET>>>
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2012, 12:51:44 pm »
It would be impressive if they could determine the individual load using power.

You could do some subjective analysis - for example plasma TVs use more power in brighter scenes, look for peaks in power to match with program content... but really, that's a lot of effort, when you can just survey 10,000 people and extrapolate that to 10 million to figure out viewship figures (as is done currently.)
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2012, 01:12:53 pm »
I hate to say it, but as much criticism as I read regarding the US on this forum (a fair bit of it well-deserved, I concede), it is Australia that has quite the international reputation for having lots of repressive Internet, IT, and IP stuff going on. Just sayin'.

Not really. Most of the bad shit never got through parliament. They keep trying, but we keep winning.
There is no internet restriction in this country. Most ISP's voluntarily block a few known kiddie porn sites, but apart from that, nothing else.
A few video games and films are banned for import and sale here commercially, because they have no suitable "classification". But that is being fixed very shortly.
And it never (legally) stopped you possessing such material or selling it 2nd hand, or importing it direct yourself.

One state in America for example, has now banned using cash for buying or selling 2nd hand goods! That's how bit-shit crazy the US is  :P
We haven't turned into a police state  :P

Dave.
 

Offline bullet308

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2012, 01:39:58 pm »
What state is that? Haven't heard of that one. Even though we have fifty to keep up with, that would kind of stand out...
>>>BULLET>>>
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 01:55:15 pm »
Louisiana.........

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111019/17424316421/louisiana-makes-it-illegal-to-use-cash-secondhand-sales.shtml

Gotta love Adam Curry, he was going on about this a few months ago....... Next you know they will make it illegal to drive a car without a flag man walking in front of it.
 

Offline AntiProtonBoy

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2012, 02:21:58 pm »
Not really. Most of the bad shit never got through parliament. They keep trying, but we keep winning.
Yep, and we yet another shit to fight against:
http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/every-click-you-make-theyll-be-watching-20120711-21wfg.html

*sigh*
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2012, 02:56:06 pm »
There is no internet restriction in this country.

Other than the available connectivity sucking massively, you mean?
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2012, 03:23:35 pm »
Big problem of saying you have nothing to hide is scope creep. What if the next crowd declare something illegal, like owning a computer or having a browser that they do not mandate, and mine this pile of data to find you? Better not to have the data, as so many are finding from UK councils using anti-terrorism laws and surveillance cameras to go after people letting dogs loose to run in the park, or placing the wrong bag in the garbage bin or even putting the bin out at the wrong time? If the data is there it will be used.
 

Offline gxti

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2012, 03:25:01 pm »
It would be impressive if they could determine the individual load using power.
It's definitely possible in a technical sense to determine which larger appliances in the home are active, as far as heater vs refrigerator vs AC. But I doubt the power company cares. The nice thing about corporations being mindless profit-seekers is that they don't tend to do evil stuff unless it turns a profit and about the only thing I think they could do with that info is send you ads when your refrigerator is about to fail. Nobody is sitting behind a massive mahogany desk, stroking their evil goatee deviously while they read the latest report about how long your showers are.

On the other hand, you can actually save money by negotiating an alternative billing system with your power company that bills based on very fine time-of-use. Just keeping the water heater off during a 30 minute peak, which it probably was off anyway, can cut your rate significantly. But you have to ask, because most people rightfully don't want to be inconvenienced at all and would rather just have a flat rate.
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2012, 03:28:37 pm »
I think the whole idea of smart meters is simply to make the electricity bill so complicated you cannot tell if they are overcharging you. The only solution would be a home computer power usage monitoring system that keeps track of all your power usage in real time and produces a cost chart of your own. The other solution would be to go of grid, something that I did for my workshop when I installed a 75 KVA spot welder, best move I ever made there. I produce power at less than half the cost of the mains.
 

Offline bullet308

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2012, 04:27:42 pm »
Louisiana.........



Oh, pffft...Louisiana is barely part of the US...probably the most corrupt state in the nation and the only state who's statutes are based on Napoleonic law. Also, the rule of law is so weak there that this is but one of MANY laws that will not be enforced....

And I *seriously* doubt that law would pass constitutional muster. The feds do NOT like it when the states muck about with things such as the usability of its currency...
« Last Edit: September 24, 2012, 04:31:04 pm by bullet308 »
>>>BULLET>>>
 

Offline SgtRock

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2012, 05:57:15 pm »
Greetings EEVBees:

--Now, Dave, trying to get to the source of things as usual has managed to obtain a restatement of the boilerplate handout by the Utility, which contained the expected typical bull crap, but Dave also provided a link to the disclosure page, of which I excerpt significant portions below.

"5.Licence to Use Meter Data
    1.You grant to us a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable licence to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, modify, display, and perform all or any portion of the content of your meter data as permitted through the functionality of the Software and under these Terms of Use." [That makes you feel a lot better, aready, does it not?]
   
--And under Section 12. Information and Privacy; It states that in Australia they have better protection of private data than in the US, which is no doubt true, but is somewhat beside the point since they are furnishing the data to an outfit in Colorado that does not have to conform to Austrailian Privacy Law, and it goes on to say that your information will not be publicly available. So far so good. But but a careful perusal of Section 12 reveals at least a couple of worrisome places where your personal info could leak or be harvested and misused by a widening circle of employees. And the US outfit in Colorado will be free to sell the information, as I read it.

"12.Information and Privacy
    1.You agree to provide us with whatever information we may require from you in order to supply you goods and services under these Terms of Use.
    2.The information collected by us may include "personal information" within the meaning of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). You are entitled to access this information by contacting us at support@originsmart.com.au.
   3. ... We are conducting the Origin Smart Pre-Release in conjunction with a third party smart energy technology provider based in Colorado in the USA (Third Party Provider).  To conduct the Origin Smart Pre-Release, we will need to provide your personal information to the Third Party Provider.  The USA does not have laws that provide the same level of protection for an individual's personal information as in Australia, however, the Third Party Provider is required to comply with any applicable privacy legislation. [that is US privacy legislation, not Australian]... [and finally] We may also disclose your personal information to a credit reporting agency in certain circumstances."

--So, indeed, the article appears to be true, in virtually every respect. My sympathies.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats."
H.L. Mencken 1880 - 1956

Best Regards
Clear Ether
 

Offline poptones

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2012, 06:09:39 pm »
Oh my goodness! Everyone from Australia to Wyoming will know when your wife is using her vibrator!

Dance, chicken little, dance!

By the way: the law in Louisiana applies to DEALERS of junk, not to private transactions between individuals (which, of course, would be impossible to police). In fact many places have enacted laws similar to this largely in response to the rash of people stealing copper wire and pipes from empty buildings and selling it as scrap.
 

Offline Pentium100

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2012, 07:15:49 pm »
I think the whole idea of smart meters is simply to make the electricity bill so complicated you cannot tell if they are overcharging you.
At least this is better in my country. Every month I go to the energy meter and write down what the reading is, then I pay based on the difference between the previous reading and the current one. Also, electricity prices for individuals (as opposed to large companies) have to be approved by the government (if the power company wants to increase the prices it has to explain to the government why).
 

Offline DrGeoff

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2012, 01:51:10 am »
It would be impressive if they could determine the individual load using power.
It's definitely possible in a technical sense to determine which larger appliances in the home are active, as far as heater vs refrigerator vs AC. But I doubt the power company cares. The nice thing about corporations being mindless profit-seekers is that they don't tend to do evil stuff unless it turns a profit and about the only thing I think they could do with that info is send you ads when your refrigerator is about to fail. Nobody is sitting behind a massive mahogany desk, stroking their evil goatee deviously while they read the latest report about how long your showers are.

On the other hand, you can actually save money by negotiating an alternative billing system with your power company that bills based on very fine time-of-use. Just keeping the water heater off during a 30 minute peak, which it probably was off anyway, can cut your rate significantly. But you have to ask, because most people rightfully don't want to be inconvenienced at all and would rather just have a flat rate.

They can use large amounts of data and analytics to determine when best to apply peak, shoulder and off-peak tarrifs to improve the bottom line. Rather than put prices up, which has become a political and commercial hot potato, they will adjust the tarrif times slightly. Maybe increase the peak time by an hour during Summer and Winter, or adjust them slightly to overlap higher demand periods.
Was it really supposed to do that?
 

Offline poptones

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2012, 02:04:31 am »
Ummm, isn't that the whole point? To enable fine grained billing based on peak demand and at lower rate during low demand?

They certainly know already when peak demand and low demand times are. But as it is now, meters don't know what time it is. I've been paying electric bills based on peak and off peak for years but it's always been based on averages rather than my exact usage.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Attention Australia Your Power Meter Is Spying On You
« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2012, 02:18:54 am »
There is no internet restriction in this country.
Other than the available connectivity sucking massively, you mean?

Available, no. Available at an affordable price, yes.

Dave.
 


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