Smart Meters – Engineering a Virtual Panopticon

Our thanks go to the UK Column newspaper for featuring an article written by us this month: www.ukcolumn.orgPlease share widely.

LONDON, March 7, 2013, Stop Smart Meters! (UK)

If you are the average Internet and telephone user, 736 pieces of personal information are collected about you every single day.  During the last four years, more than a million pieces of your personal information have been logged in computers in data-center locations that are unknown to you.

Without applying, you are now a participant in a vast study group.

Your information is collected, collated, analysed, profiled and sold without your consent, providing the fuel for an Information sector that accumulates nearly $34,000 per second.

That might sound like a lot – until you hear about ‘Smart’ Meters.

If you are in the tiny minority of people who have even heard of these Orwellian sentinels, you may already know that their proponents speak of an end to estimated bills, the elimination of meter reading jobs and 24*7 connectivity to your home’s thermostat.  What these sophists fail to say is that they will give “Big Energy” real-time recording and transmission of not only your electricity, gas and water usage 24×7, but a lot more besides – much of which you would be forgiven for thinking is none of their business.

For example, ‘Smart’ Meters will provide your utility providers (and any eavesdroppers) with a running commentary on whether you are home, what appliances you are using, what film you are watching, what temperature your home is running at and whether you have any windows open. And that’s before the behavioural-modeling software kicks in.

Remember: you have the lawful right to refuse a ‘Smart’ Meter on whatever grounds you like.”

Looking carefully, it is possible to detect something else hiding in the payloads of the Smart Meter stealth bomber.  It is called the “Internet of Things”, and belying its innocuous moniker is a nauseating plan to put ‘Smart’ RFID-transmitters into everything we know and love.  Driven by the new ‘IPv6’ Internet protocol (announced on 6/6/12) which has now created 340 trillion, trillion, trillion new IP addresses, everything that rolls off a production line in future, including each component, will have remotely-readable ID tags on them to enable end-to-end product lifecycle tracking; from production to store to home and -eventually- dustbin.  And thanks to the ‘Smart’ Meter, a log of how it is used along the way.

When the ‘planned obsolescence’ that has been purposefully designed-in to your current worldly goods comes to pass, get ready to restock your home with “smart” versions of everything; TVs, washing machines, fridges, home furnishings, clothes, consumer goods and foods will all feature tiny, embedded RFID chips to send information about your usage of them to your ‘Smart’ Meter (or someone else’s) and back to the company you once thought of merely as a utility supplier.

If the prospect of the total loss of privacy makes you feel a tad sick, the chances are your medication choice will sit on an ingestible “smart” pill – capable of communicating time of use to your doctor, as well as details about your heart rate and body position too.  We wish this was a fictional, futuristic dystopia.  But it isn’t – it is real-life and it is coming unless we say “no”.

Panopticon – an institutional building designed by English philosopher/social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept allows a watchman to observe all inmates of an institution without them being able to tell whether or not they are being watched.

The prospect of this “Internet of Things” incorporating pharmaceuticals is clearly a disturbing one on many levels, not least with the part that ‘Smart’ Meters (and other wireless technologies) play in causing disease.  The reason for this is that they emit intense bursts of non-ionising microwave radiation continuously around the clock – one British Gas ‘Smart’ Meter we measured pulsed an incredible 43,000* times in one day (*time averaged).  And despite the HPA continuing to downplay recent and emerging findings, we now have in excess of 5,000 studies which show harm from electromagnetic radiation, particularly ‘pulsed’ microwaves, on the biological systems of humans, animals and plants.

These bio-effects are profound and wide-ranging; from calcium ion damage within cells, double-strand DNA fragmentation and blood brain barrier leakage, to nitric oxide depletion, oxidative stress, endothelial cell dysfunction, melatonin disruption and more.  Among many similar studies, the Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva in Cordoba, Argentina, has published clear evidence of sperm damage for wifi-laptop users.  Increasing numbers of studies show links to autism spectrum disorders, too.  Legions of scientists and medical experts are desperately trying to sound the alarm, but the cogs of big business are tragically drowning them out.  That needs to change – and quickly.

Clearly, ‘Smart’ Meters are not solely to blame for such physiological damage, as the wireless communications technologies they use are commonplace in today’s society – WiFi routers, mobile phones, cell towers, wireless laptops and tablets, cordless DECT phones and wireless baby monitors all operate via frequencies that sit in the microwave part of the EMF spectrum.  Call it Bluetooth, WiFi, WiMax, GPRS, 3G or 4G – they are merely names for different strengths of the same “environmental toxins”, as cardiology expert Dr. Stephen Sinatra MD puts it.

Despite the fact that we consider the UK to be advanced in terms of technological prowess, we are an international laughing stock when it comes to protecting the health of our citizens against wireless technologies. In 2008, the EU voted the UK HPA’s EMF standards as “out of date” and “obsolete”, and in May 2011, the Council of Europe warned that if we do not take radical action to reduce exposures to these frequencies, we will be facing a “public health disaster akin to tobacco, leaded petrol and asbestos”.  They particularly warn about ‘Smart’ Meters – which can expose people to between 140 and 800 times as much electromagnetic radiation as a single mobile phone.

This is a big deal.  So big, in fact, that there is palpable desperation to prevent you from finding out the truth about ‘Smart’ Meters before they are installed.  “Focus on a soft start for a fast finish” goes the advice from Consumer Focus on page 13 of their report “Ensuring a successful smart meter roll out – a consumer perspective” – a document which also acknowledges cancer concerns.  Consumer Focus is a legislative body that supposedly acts as “consumer champion”, but their advice seems to have captured the imagination of one or two energy firms in particular as they try to get these devices into our homes as quickly as possible.

And the threats posed by ‘Smart’ Meters don’t end with severe health risks – there are serious grid supply & security issues too.  As with other ‘smart’-themed devices, a central tenet of the ‘Smart’ Meter is that it is network-dependent.  This means that if the wireless network connection which reports your personal information goes down, gets hacked or is compromised in some other way, your utility supply can be cut-off – which is not the case with current analogue meters. We are also quite certain that, if this plan reaches fruition, history will also look upon the decision to design ‘Smart’ Meters to “fail-to-off” as a particularly stupid one – for example, design standards for ‘Smart’ Meters in the UK stipulate an operational rating down to -10°C; two years ago, some parts of the UK reached -20°C. This suggests that it is surely not a case of whether catastrophe will strike, but when – and it underscores GCHQ’s warnings that ‘Smart’ Meters will produce a “strategic vulnerability” that could give “hackers the opportunity to target individual homes, municipal buildings and even whole districts”.

As talk of cyber warfare increases, the so-called ‘Smart Grid’ programme is seeking to put our entire domestic energy and water supply onto the Internet.  Could anything, truly, be more stupid?  Is it stupidity, or criminal negligence?

As you reel from the absurdity of this plan, remember that Big Utility companies are listed, profit-seeking enterprises – and few, if any, financiers would approve of such reckless projects if they didn’t see huge potential upside at the end of it.

Unsurprisingly, we are starting to receive reports of considerably higher bills in the UK – with some doubling versus previous 12 month periods, mimicking the findings of a one year study in Toronto which showed bills increased in 80% of cases after ‘Smart’ Meter installation.  Make no mistake – those more “accurate” bills you’re being promised will be more expensive ones, too.

There is some good news, though.

You have the lawful right to refuse a ‘Smart’ Meter on whatever grounds you like – and if that is your choice, good for you.  However, the chances are high that your friends and neighbours won’t do the same because their supplier is likely telling them this is a simple meter “upgrade”.

Maybe you can help us change that?

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  1. This is a harmful, even sinister, invention, as the microwave radiation will go through the whole house.
    And it’s a spying device. There is no justification for it.

  2. I don’t know how many people in Ireland know about this, I suspect very few. The problem is this-people are sleepwalking into a dystopian future, because there are still people out there who say these things are safe, if they weren’t the government wouldn’t allow them. Yet the government has shown its complete lack of ‘care’ in health care, education, and social policy. If these ignorant masses don’t wake up soon, it will be them who drag the rest of us down with them!

  3. Recently visited a friends house and she’s just had a smart meter fitted. I described the possible health risks with microwave transmissions so close to the human body but, not interested, she didn’t want to know.
    They are being rolled out in my town now. I live in a terraced building. Neighbours all joined together so pretty soon a sea of electromagnetic smart meter radiation will probably be washing over me, if not already.
    People have no idea and are not at all interested. Mostly, a point blank refusal to stare reality in the face.
    I’d live in a faraday cage if I could but…!
    We’re all so stupid.

  4. Why is there no option to share this on facebook? Please add facebook share option.

    • Hi Jo – we’ve got one at the bottom of the post!
      Thanks, SSM.

      • sorry I only noticed the ‘linked in’ one…and then also realized that I could simply copy and paste the url…chalk it up to the radiation frying my brain!!

  5. BOO!

    This is absolute lunacy. I’m guessing you don’t inoculate your children against disease either, do you?

    I don’t particularly care about smart meters. If they’re more convenient for power companies and reduce the number of wires flowing from pole to pole there’s certainly an aesthetic advantage for our would-be beautiful city. As for whether or not there’s anything harmful in a radio wave I have yet to see any compelling evidence (any evidence at all, for that matter).

    If privacy is your concern there are less boneheaded ways of ensuring that “Big Power” is not allowed transporting personal or private data through government restriction than all this tinfoil-hatted nonsense. And that’s assuming that they in fact had some interest or way of gleaning “what film you were watching” (snickers). They could get more useful info from your Twitter feed. That you could believe that only underscores a complete lack of understanding of how the technology works. Are you getting your technology understanding from “The Matrix”?

    The Earth is not flat.
    Obama is not a reptilian lizard.
    The bees are just fine.
    Wi-fi is not harming children.

    If you’ve got any legitimate concerns about Wi-fi and privacy, they should certainly be brought to the table and any corporation should be held accountable. But purveying this sort of nonsense is like crying wolf. When a company does abuse technology (and they will), nobody is going to be believe you because you spent so much time hiding in your bunkers.