By B.N. Frank
It’s likely that you have electric, gas, and/or water utility “Smart” Meters (see 1, 2) installed on your home or you will getting them installed very soon. Tens of millions have been installed worldwide. Millions more are being deployed despite all the problems associated with them including fires and explosions.
“Smart” Meters collect customer usage data 24/7, whereas original 1-way transmitting analog meters DO NOT. Utilities collect and analyze usage data so they can market more products and services to customers and/or sell data to 3rd parties. This is sometimes referred to as “Surveillance Capitalism”. Legislation was introduced in California because citizens wanted this stopped.
From TURN (The Utility Reform Network):
GET ICE OUT OF OUR REFRIGERATORS- STOP Smart Meter Spying!
June 15, 2020
Farfetched as it seems, smart meters can give away an enormous amount of information about customers, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants it. Federal immigration authorities are taking advantage of a loophole in California’s privacy law to spy on consumers through their electric meters in contravention of our state’s policy of non-cooperation with ICE, which was recently affirmed by the US Supreme Court
Help us close that loophole so that immigrant communities receive the same data protections as other customers and utility companies are not forced to hand over customers’ private information to ICE. Tell your state Senator to VOTE YES on AB 2788 (Gloria, D-San Diego)
Learn More: Questions and Answers on ICE smart meter spying
How Much Do Smart Meters Know?
Smart meters typically take hourly recordings of electric usage. This data could be used to determine where a person lives, the number of people in a household, and their daily comings and goings.
Why Is This Dangerous?
Undocumented immigrants are especially vulnerable to these disclosures, since through them ICE can learn a person’s typical routine and learn more about everyone in their household.
Disclosure reports from large energy utilities have shown disturbing trends in the release of private data by utility companies. ICE has been demanding thousands of customers’ private information and has been able to obtain it without a judicial warrant. Strengthening privacy protections for smart meter data builds on California’s commitment to protecting our immigrant communities.
Is ICE using smart meter data to spy on Californians?
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) a single utility, San Diego Gas & Electric, received the largest number of demands by far and handed over the records of 4,062 customers in a single year.
Isn’t smart meter data protected?
Yes, but ICE has been able to exploit a loophole in the law. Despite California’s privacy protections, existing law allows ICE to issue its own administrative subpoenas to gain access to utility data without either a judicial or court order subpoena, a much higher bar.
Passage of AB 2788 would prohibit an electrical corporation, gas corporation, or local publicly owned electric utility from sharing, disclosing, or otherwise making accessible to any immigration authority a customer’s electrical or gas consumption data without a court-ordered subpoena or judicial warrant.
Activist Post Recommended Book: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
“Smart” Meters are 2-way transmitting so they emit high levels of harmful RadioFrequency (RF) Radiation and other sources of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) (aka “Electrosmog”). People worldwide have taken legal action against their utility companies because of health issues caused by these meters (see 1, 2, 3, 4) and also meter fires and explosions. Other issues associated with these meters include malfunctioning and broken appliances, frequent replacement, cybersecurity risks, higher bills, and of course, privacy violations.
Legislation has been introduced and passed in some cities and states to stop installation (see 1, 2) and/or offer customers the right to affordably “opt out” (see 1, 2, 3). A documentary about “Smart” Meters was produced in 2013 and updated and re-released in 2017. Some utilities aren’t calling them “Smart” anymore because of their bad track record. Can you blame them?
Activist Post reports regularly about “Smart” Meters and other unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:
- Coalition to Stop Smart Meters
- EMF Safety Network
- Smart Grid Awareness
- Smart Meter News
- Take Back Your Power
- The People’s Initiative
- Wireless Information Network
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