May 10, 2011 | By Rebecca Jeschke

California Proposes Strong Privacy Protections for "Smart Meters"

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has released a proposal for strong privacy protections for "smart meter" data, closely following the recommendations from EFF and the Center for Democracy and Technology. If adopted and finalized, the plan could become a model for how to protect sensitive consumer information while providing new ways to save energy.

California's PG&E is currently in the process of installing "smart meters" that will collect detailed data of energy use —750 to 3000 data points per month per household—for every energy customer in the state. These meters are aimed at helping consumers monitor and control their energy usage, but the information that is collected can reveal much more about a household's daily activities: when people wake up, when they come home, when they go on vacation, and maybe even when they take a hot bath.

Many third parties will want access to this sensitive information, and the California PUC has recommended strong protections for the transfer of the data to others. This should help prevent the data's misuse, hopefully blocking new intrusions into our home and private life. We hope the California PUC goes on to adopt its proposal, creating a blueprint for energy data and privacy protection that can be used across the country.


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

"Shadow Regulation" deals aren't the way to address online problems. Our new infographic outlines a better approach. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

Sep 30 @ 2:50pm

Queens, NY! EFF will be at World Maker Faire at the NY Hall of Science this weekend. Come explore and say hi! #WMF16 http://makerfaire.com/new-york/

Sep 30 @ 1:26pm

What do you call it when companies make back-room deals to control Internet content? We call it Shadow Regulation. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

Sep 29 @ 3:14pm
JavaScript license information