The Star reports that Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner, is weighing in on the issue of privacy and “smart grids” (where utilities would be able to collect granular data about consumers’ energy consumption — down to the daily electricity use by the fridge in your kitchen or the TV in your bedroom). I’ve spoked about the privacy issues connected with smart grids and smart meters before.
The Star reports:
Personal privacy must remain paramount as the “smart grid” electricity system is built around the province, said Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner.
As the grid collects information on power usage and smart meters are installed in Ontario homes to track consumption data, that personal information could represent a treasure trove for hackers, thieves or marketers, said Cavoukian, in her annual report entitled Access & Privacy, A Time for Innovation, released Tuesday.
“Imagine the enormous interest in this information – not only by marketers and companies but unauthorized third parties like the bad guys, thieves who’ll know when you are not at home,” Cavoukian said in an interview. […]
Energy Minister Brad Duguid said he is taking Cavoukian’s advice “very seriously” and is already putting measures in place by controlling who has access to the information. […]
In the not so distant future, “smart” appliances will be able to send in even more gritty details on how we live our lives to companies that provide electrical power. The sharing of that data should concern consumers, Cavoukian said..
“Think about every single appliance in your house reporting, in real time, your energy use. What will develop over time is a library of personal information relating to a profile of your personal energy use. When you watch TV, what time of day, when you eat, when you sleep and wake,” she said. “That says a lot of the activities of a household.”