Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Could the Government Use Your Smart Meter to Spy on You?

Smart meters are designed to reduce energy consumption, lower household bills and, by extension, help the planet along a little bit. But could they also be used by the government to spy on you? This is the question that was thrown into the spotlight this week when the Seventh Circuit handed down a landmark opinion ruling, stating that data collected by smart meters is protected by the Fourth Amendment.

Previously, courts have ruled that the Fourth Amendment does not protect household energy data -– a precedent largely based on readings from traditional analog energy meters which don’t really reveal anything at all, other than the total amount of energy used over a long period of time. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Privacy International filed an amicus brief urging the Seventh Circuit (a federal court with jurisdiction in the central and northern districts of Illinois) to reconsider this position, which they subsequently did, potentially setting an example for the protection of energy data throughout the US.

You can read the details in an article by Rachel England in the Engadget web site at:

Categories: Legal Affairs

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