It wouldn’t be difficult to tell what is going around in a particular place by looking at the electricity being used in parallel. The process becomes even more feasible when the electricity consumption of any property is checked frequently within a few minutes and is recorded and stored in a centralized system. To further stop its exploitation the federal judge recently ruled people with smart meters and think such people expect some privacy. Therefore, to acquire the data usage from their electric meter, the law enforcement will need to acquire court rules warrant if they want to check the data usage.
One of the major conspicuous situations that’s reflects here is the new IoT technology, so now extracting too many important data from a property seems so easy, putting the people at risk.
Smart electrical meters is an amazing innovative product out there in the market. It reads the meter reading and forwards them in every couple of minutes. Since the reading is stored centrally, therefore, it can be stored for years. With this precision of information shared every 15 minutes, it’s very easy to tell if someone is living in the house, or if they have arrived in their home or not, or when did they last use their appliances etc. The fingerprints of individual devices on the house’s electrical network aren’t that difficult to figure out.
The technology used by smart electrical meters can also help to control the balance of load electricity and can give you high usage alerts and predict bills and demand with so many more applications and inbuilt features it offers. These features also come to the various exploitation or surveillance it invites as it can also be used by the government to establish information and look into your activities for investigation purposes. A similar case happened in Naperville, Illinois where the harmed citizens filed a lawsuit against the government for mandating this technology a couple of years ago with accusing the city of unauthorized collection and access of data that induced various unexplained searches.
During this case, the court provided statements like a collection of data is not an unexplained form of search especially when there is no prosecution relative content, therefore, it can be disregarded as a violation. The court further added that if a particular city is putting this data onto a good interest and resolving various issues in the grid of electricity distribution, it is perfectly acceptable for them to compile this data without any warrant. But in the case there are some other reasons for which the data needs to be collected for example while investigating a crime, a warrant would certainly be required to proceed with the investigation.
The need for a warrant is very less in the case as only when it is a matter of life or death, the government is to do a surveillance and use your data. There might be chances that the citizens appeal to the Supreme Court but it appears likely that citizens will abide by what court ruled as the judgement seemed to be fair.