Sunday, July 01, 2012

U.K.: energy smart meters will monitor your sex habits

Marc Morano has pointed out the following interesting article in the Guardian:
Energy smart meters are a threat to privacy, says watchdog
By 2019, British citizens are obliged to install new, "smart" devices to measure the energy consumption. The detailed consumption patterns will be evaluated locally and sent to an energy-saving official dedicated to your street in the utility's headquarters.

Note that the device allows you the home temperature either at 16 °C or 20 °C.

She or he will tell you whether you should take a shower or a bath and how much energy you save by having sex in the morning rather than evening, in your bedroom or your living room. Based on the graphs from individual light bulbs and other devices in your apartment, she or he will recommend you a new diet and a new partner, too.

The detailed data of each inhabitant of a house will be discussed at the daily meetings of the Green Party. The most outrageous violators will be published in the media. So this is an answer to the question: What if the climate alarm is a big hoax and what if we create a "better world" for nothing? ;-)

More seriously, I am occasionally shocked what kind of policies is still being pursued somewhere. Where did this stuff come from? Who has approved it? We often think that we have already won, the climate alarmists have been shown to be crooks and removed from the political process; it's a matter of time when we arrest some of the most notorious alarmists who have actually been mining money out of this huge scam.

But we also frequently encounter some of their brainchildren that haven't been killed yet. Someone should make a detailed research into all these time bombs that are waiting for us, all these insane policies recommended by unhinged Big Brother environmentalists that have already been initiated and that are waiting somewhere to be realized and which will be realized unless we will be more cautious.

It is no other person's business to be deciding whether you should have a shower or a bath, not to mention more intimate questions. Whether one consumes more energy than the other is just an issue to be considered by the person who is paying for the energy. And be sure that even without smart meters, people generally know that baths are more expensive than showers. (I personally know the consumption of all the electric devices in my apartment.) But unless we want to merge our countries with North Korea, such elementary things can't be outlawed.

The title of this blog entry was meant to be an eye-catcher. However, it is true that if someone may evaluate the detailed graphs of your electricity consumption – and perhaps with some more detailed descriptions – in your apartment, he or she will know a lot about what's happening in it. I do agree with the Germany consumers mentioned in the Guardian article that it's creepy. And there are people out there who are vastly more sensitive about privacy than I am.


  1. Wow, big brother is watching you indeed. What kind of a society do these greenies want ? I guess we can find the answers in fiction litterature and movies... and History :-( British can be weird : in some part of the UK they have some patrols checking your bins to see if you have sorted your litter properly; If not you get a fine !

  2. A bit of fiction...

  3. Something that always blew me away was the vans that go around checking for illegal television receivers. (If you don't pay a tax or fee that supports the BBC, you can't have a TV.)

    To an American it seems bizarre to say that if someone puts a radio (or TV) signal on the air, you're only allowed to receive it on certain conditions. If I'm not mistaken, the Federal Communications Act of nineteen-thirty-something explicitly disallows such a rule. Where you can get into trouble is if you divulge the information thus received to someone else.

  4. One of the few victories over the global warming lobby that I've been involved in revolved around "programmable communicating thermostats" here in California.
    The State was going to make PCT's mandatory as part of the building code.
    My good friend Russ Steele linked an American Thinker piece about it on his blog.

    My part was re-linking the story in comments at several conservative websites until finally Patterico made it an actual blog post.

    From there it was picked up by Rush Limbaugh becoming a national story about nanny state overreach by California Democrats.

    Yeah, I kicked their ass. It's the way I roll.


  5. Where you can get into trouble is if you divulge the information thus received to someone else; i.e., it can be made illegal to divulge certain communications (not all of them, of course).

    frog could you elaborate on this .
    I'm having trouble groging this. It sounds like you are saying if I happen to hear something on the radio, I can't communicate that to someone else without becoming liable for ? How does that work?

  6. In 1949 George Orwell published "1984", which forecast a complete loss of freedom within 35 years. It didn't happen. When you try to tell people how to act in the privacy of their own homes you touch a very sensitive area. I'm not too worried about this but it is good to remain vigilant. So, kudos to James Mayeau.

  7. James: I'm just speaking from recall of stuff I read decades ago. I don't have the time or the inclination to research the question now. However, you seem to be reading too much into what I wrote. I was afraid of that, and that's why I added the "i.e. ..."

    Example: You listen to military or government radio transmissions, and you thereby learn classified information. You can't be punished merely for listening, since this is a "passive" act, like overhearing a conversation in a restaurant, but if you tell anyone else what you've learned, you can be punished.

    "Overhearing" is very apt, because Russian agents are said to have learned a lot simply by having lunch in the Pentagon cafeteria and listening to conversation at nearby tables. You couldn't do anything to them for that, but you could do something to them for conveying the information to other Russian agents or the Soviet or Russian government.

    There may be other things that are illegal to convey to others, but I don't know of sure examples. I suppose, if you were to listen to a ham operator and convey information to someone who used it to blackmail him, you could be legally charged with something, such as conspiracy. You can be guilty of conspiracy so long as you discussed the possibility of crime, even if you back out before the crime is committed.

  8. Police channel scanners, Aircraft/tower air-to-ground communications (and probably air-to-air) and "fuzzbusters" are also examples.

  9. We're not in an Orwellian state but a Huxley-an state. As Neil Postman
    put it: "What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley
    feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would
    be no one who wanted to read one." We are there: retarded beyond belief
    with too few with the skills to piece together the fact that the "War on
    Terror" is a total sham.

  10. Meridian: Yes, for at least some of them, but depending on circumstances, I would guess so.

  11. All of these examples that you gave, when has anybody been punished for doing that. Hell they gave Geraldo Rivera his own show as "punishment" for handing out 'on air' troop movements to the Al Queda.
    police radio, military channels, even state deptment docs - if you have sensitive information from these sources, in today's world where an unrepentant murderer is the AG of the US, not only would you not be held liable for publishing, the New York Times will most likely pay you a bounty if they get exclusive rights.

  12. The smart meters will be the bane of a free society. And, while Lubos may have slightly exaggerated, it isn't by much. In many of your appliances there is already communication capabilities being built in. (Zigbee for instance.) A bunch of jackwads got together and thought it would be cool to be able to monitor and control our usages for the various appliances. So, now, utilities have hired a bunch of guys like me to implement such technologies. Personally, I'd like to stop at the meter OUTSIDE!! People have no idea about how bad and quickly this can go. God help us all.

  13. Agreed. I would prefer to stop outside - spatially - but not only that. I would prefer to stop with monthly or less frequent readings, too. Knowing the precise immediate consumption minute by minute is enough to decode much of what's going inside, too.

    Needless to say, whatever is the threshold of tolerance, we may find such violations of privacy inappropriate but they are the very purpose of these policies and technological "improvements".