Designing privacy into smart meters
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Designing privacy into smart meters

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Presentation at Consumer Focus workshop on smart meters and consumer protection

Presentation at Consumer Focus workshop on smart meters and consumer protection

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  • 1. Designing privacy into smart meters Dr Ian Brown, Oxford Internet Institute
  • 2. Information revealed by meters Source: Quinn (2008) pp. 30-1
    • When are you usually away from home?
    • Is your household protected with an electronic alarm system? If so, how often do you arm it?
    • How often do you arrive home around the time the bars close? How often do you get a full night’s sleep v. drive sleep deprived?
    • How often are you late to work, or rushing to get there on time? Does the time it takes you to get from your home to your workplace require that you break the speed limit to get there?
    • On what days and during what times do you watch TV? How much home time do you spend in front of your computer?
    • How often do you eat in? Do you tend to eat hot or cold breakfasts? What’s the relative frequency of microwave dinners to three-pot feasts in your home? How often do you entertain?
    • Are any of your household appliances failing or operating below optimal efficiency? Do you own lots of gadgets? Are you a Laundromat person, or do you have your own washer and drier?
    • Are you a restless sleeper, getting up frequently throughout the night?
    • In a custody battle: Have you ever left your child home alone? How often, and for how long?
    • In a worker’s comp hearing: How is it, with your disabled back, you were able to turn on the TV in the upstairs of your home less than a minute after turning off the lights downstairs?
    • Alabama recently passed a tax provision requiring obese state employees to pay for their health insurance unless they actively work to reduce their body mass index. So: why haven’t you used your treadmill at home any time in the last week? You clearly have not been out of the house and away from a computer or TV long enough for aerobic exercise.
    • Do clinically depressed or bipolar individuals have distinctive energy profiles? What about people with behavioral disorders? Could you tell if someone hadn’t been taking their medication?
  • 3. NIST privacy principles
    • Associate energy data with individuals only when and where required, for example only linking equipment data with a location or customer account when needed for billing, service restoration, or other operational needs
    • De-identify information Usage data and any resulting information, such as monthly charges for service, collected as a result of Smart Grid operations should be aggregated and anonymised by removing personal information elements wherever possible
    • Safeguard personal information Any organizations collecting, processing or handling energy usage data and other personal information from or about premises should ensure that all information collected and subsequently created about the recipients of services is appropriately protected in all forms from loss, theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification
    • Don’t use personal information for research purposes
  • 4. Designing for privacy
    • Personal data should almost always remain at customer premises under their direct control
    • Network broadcasts tariff data to meters, which control appliances
    • Heavily aggregated information used for billing and price comparison
    • Central Communication Provider should set interoperability standards but store no personal data
    NIST conceptual model
  • 5. Who cares?
    • Consumers: immediate concrete benefits (eg discounted tariffs on smart meters) v. uncertain diffuse future costs (privacy); potential for backlash
    • Media: “spies in the home” and potential mix with climate change denial
    • European regulators – inc. revision of DP Directive to include “privacy by design”
    • European courts – is a massive central database proportionate and “necessary in a democratic society” ( S & Marper v UK )?
  • 6. References
    • S. Marsh, I. Brown and F. Khaki (2008) Privacy Engineering, Cybersecurity KTN white paper
    • E. L. Quinn (2008) Privacy and the New Energy Infrastructure, Center for Energy and Environmental Security, University of Colorado
    • R. Anderson, I. Brown, T. Dowty, P. Inglesant, W. Heath and A. Sasse, (2009) Database State , Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust
    • NIST (2010) Smart Grid Cyber Security Strategy and Requirements, DRAFT NISTIR 7628
    • Ross Anderson and Shailendra Fuloria (2010) On the Security Economics of Electricity Metering, 9 th Workshop on the Economics of Information Security