Meters could spy on us

Once a device is hooked up to a smart meter, a refrigerator’s icemaker can be shifted to another time of day.

An article in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology magazine, Technology Review, Oct. 3, tells us that if you bought an appliance in the last three years, “Odds are it was ‘smart’”, meaning it probably contains a wireless radio that can send out information about a device’s status and energy use as well as receive commands that alter its behavior. Once a device is hooked up to a smart meter, a refrigerator’s icemaker can be shifted to another time of day, and “various elements of a dryer can be shut down” remotely by the utility company.

In August, I sat beside the BC Hydro representative as he repeatedly told the Qualicum Beach mayor and four of us that smart meters only record energy usage, just like an analog meters. Repeating that statement did not make it true.  According to MIT, the ZigBee chip in the smart meter and chips in new appliances will be talking, your smart meter gathering information, and utility companies capable of remotely changing the energy usage in your home.

German scientists of University of Applied Science of Münster used a residential smart meter to identify appliances, TV channel displayed, and even a test movie.  They warn that smart meters are potentially capable of becoming surveillance devices.

Of course, BC Hydro will say that it has no intention of using your smart meter these ways. But why are we not told about the ZigBee chip and what it can do? A GE engineer says they want to “build a base” before they inform us.  Then are we expected to rush out and happily buy new smart appliances?

An Ontario homeowner with a smart meter on his home complains that now a hacker can remotely tell when he is out of town. Even highly protected credit card companies are routinely hacked.

People are protesting across B.C. We don’t care, BC Hydro told the Union of B.C. Municipalities. We’re going to install smart meters anyway.  Is this 2011 or 1984? Why isn’t the Liberal government protecting our rights?

This research is easy to verify online. Stop Smart Meters in B.C.

Joanne Sales, Qualicum Beach

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