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ComputerWorld: Some smart electricity meters are stupid about privacy

By Martyn Williams | November 19, 2012 06:00 AM ET

A University of South Carolina study found smart meters transmitting plain text information that could be used against home owners

Excerpt:

“Wenyuan Xu, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, said her team was able to capture data from electricity meters at a distance of up to 300 meters (about 984 feet). The data was in plain text and included the meter ID number; the name and address of the building’s owner were not included, but it was possible to figure out that information.

Xu said she was able to pull data from target meters once every two to 10 minutes. With such frequent readings, it’s possible to calculate the rate of power consumption in a house and determine whether someone’s at home or not.

A new generation of meters is supposed to include encryption. But it’s unclear whether the meters already installed will be replaced and, if so, when that might happen.”

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