I didn’t realize when I addressed the smart meter RF situation that it was turning into such an uproar. Now, on top of the RADHAZ comments, people are expressing concern about protection of privacy. It seems that a lot of people have a difficult time believing in RF hazards because they can’t smell, feel, touch, taste, etc. the lower RF energy levels and, therefore, a hazard can’t possibly exist… but they are concerned about their privacy.
Not everyone could possibly have a grow room hidden in their basement. I know we don’t here in this part of Florida, because a basement would be an indoor pool with a very low ceiling. I’m at an elevation of 28 feet and the water table during the rainy season is about 5 feet below the grass.
Never the less, the power companies have failed to make it clear as to how they are going to protect the user’s privacy – let alone keep them safe.
People think that the power companies will be able to determine when they get up and turn on their coffee maker, when they take a shower (because the water heater element turns on), when they are cooking or baking with their electric range, watching TV, running the AC, etc. and, more importantly, when they are not at home. Could they do that? Most certainly! It all depends on how sensitive the meter and how often the residence gets interrogated. It’s a matter of granularity. Will they do that? I hope not, after all they only need to read the meter once a month to be able to send out a bill.
Can the hackers outside in their instrumented van also find out that information? Maybe. We know it’s possible, just read “Electromagnetic Radiation from Video Display Units: An Eavesdropping Risk?” Wim Van Eck, Computers & Security (1985).Whether the hackers can read it all depends on the signals that are being processed by the power company, the modulation characteristics, type of handshaking, and whether encryption is being used, etc. But we won’t discuss that last part because if we do, this blog will self-destruct in 15 seconds.
However, even if they could, why would they? Plus, is there any reason to be paranoid about it? Are you really that afraid someone will find out often you take a bath? For some interesting and entertaining discussions on the subject, do a Yahoo search on: “Are they out to get us?” From the results, it almost seems that everyone thinks something is out to get us.
I really want to start a discussion on signal characteristics from an EMC perspective and that’s where we are headed with the next post. However, I will comment on anything anyone wants to discuss that is RFI, EMI, EMC, ESD, etc. related. Just keep it unclassified!