According to the minutes of the meeting [PDF] on the city web site, none of the council members addressed the Fourth Amendment concerns that have been raised throughout the country concerning these smart meters. Recently there have been concerns raised about illnesses from these meters because of the electromagnetic radiation they emit.
Joe Carter of APS noted in the meeting that the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) has become industry standard and that APS began installing these meters throughout their service area in 2006. Installing the meters would “bring Williams up to date.”
Installation of these meters will take three- to four-weeks after the approval by the council. Customers would be notified by mail and door hangers and the meters would be installed up to three-days later.
Carter responded to a question on reading the meters from Councilman Heimenz by explaining that it is done by radio and cell phone technology. Heimenz did not ask, nor did Carter explain, concerns about hacking into these meters by others with cell phone technology. In England, where people pay for the meters and television, this is a growing concern.
These meters can be used to determine what appliances you have and how they are used. Even what types of DVDs and CDs you watch or listen to according to some sources. This information has been sold by some utility companies. Hacking the meters can tell a potential criminal the times that you are away from your home.
A 2012 article by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, smart meters can be used as part of a data retention program.
Smart Meter Hacking for Privacy
On day four of the 28th Annual Chaos Communication Congress, Smart Hacking for Privacy explored the privacy-intrusive potential of smart meter technology. EFF has articulated the privacy concerns around smart meters – including how this technology can be used to monitor what appliances a consumer uses in the home and exactly when she uses them. According to Network World, Smart Hacking for Privacy went a step further and showed that under certain circumstances, researchers could use smart meters to “determine devices like how many PCs or LCD TVs [were] in a home, what TV program was being watched, and if a DVD movie being played had copyright-protected material.” This builds off of research (PDF) by a team at the University of Washington on the electromagnetic interference (EMI) signatures produced by televisions. Smart Hacking for Privacy also demonstrated how smart meters could be hacked so that the readings were incorrect. The entire presentation is available on YouTube.
We sent an email to the Arizona Corporation Commission on smart meter technology and are waiting a response. They may not have had time to formulate a response to the questions we asked because we only sent the email last night.
Texas has a bill in the Senate to ban the use of these meters.
Smart meters are not a concern only in the United States. On the other side of the world groups in Australia are fighting against this technology. A group called the East Gippsland Action Group [Facebook page] offers a sign to be posted by the owners of property warning electric companies not to install the meters.
Their web site complains that these meters allow electric companies to control your airconditioner, heaters and other appliances in your home.
Smart Meter Dangers