MSNBC's Red Tape Chronicles: What will talking power meters say about you?


What will talking power meters say about you?
MSNBC’s Red Tape Chronicles
By Bob Sullivan
October 9, 2009

Would you sign up for a discount with your power company in exchange for surrendering control of your thermostat? What if it means that, one day, your auto insurance company will know that you regularly arrive home on weekends at 2:15 a.m., just after the bars close?

Welcome to the complex world of the Smart Grid, which may very well pit environmental concerns against thorny privacy issues. If you think such debates are purely philosophical, you’re behind the times.

Jules Polonetsky quoted:

“The potential benefits of the Smart Grid are fabulous,” he said. “I just think that it’s critical that sober and adequate thinking be done at this stage. We must do this right or we could hamper the rollout of the Smart Grid and you could have folks unwilling to participate. … We are trying to help before it’s too late.” Polonetsky, director of The Future of Privacy Forum, heads a small crowd of researchers who are asking important questions about the future of our futuristic power delivery plans. “Knowing what’s going on in people’s homes … this strikes at some of our most core values,” he said.

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