It’s a common trend, but everything is spying on you nowadays. We’re not talking about men in black suits and sunglasses following you around the city, but instead we’re referring to the pervasive passive monitoring that is being done to nearly everyone. From your cell phone providing tracking data to Apple, to your TomTom GPS providing data to police in order to set up speed traps, everyone wants information on what you do and when you do it.
Now with the advent of so-called “smart” electricity meters, it appears that even your own house is capable of gathering information on your habits. While the amount of electricity you use may seem innocuous, according to the EFF, this data can be used to gather details on when you wake up or go to sleep, when you come home, or when you start making dinner. This is because the relatively new meters collect hundreds or thousands of data points per month, effectively painting a picture of what you’re doing day to day. While this information can be helpful in identifying areas to save on electricity usage, it is also a treasure trove of information for third party companies.
The California Public Utilities Commission has stepped up and released a proposal that will limit what the utility companies can do with the data they collect. Although this proposal has not yet been finalized, the EFF hopes that it will become a “model for how to protect sensitive consumer information while providing new ways to save energy.”