Smart meters are dangerous data miners: EU privacy watchdog

Powered by SC Magazine
 

Fears meters will introduce intrusive data mining in homes and businesses.

Plans for the rollout of smart meters across Europe will pave the way for intrusive data mining of homes and small businesses unless the European Commission takes action, the EU privacy watchdog has warned.

Smart meters will be useful tools for energy conservation, but together with data from other sources the potential for “extensive data mining” is significant, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) says.

The patterns and profiles built up from this could be used for many purposes, including marketing, advertising and possibly price discrimination by third parties, it warned.

The watchdog “regrets that the Commission has not provided more specific, more comprehensive and practical guidance” to protect citizens and small companies, such as a requirement to carry out data protection impact assessments, and an obligation to notify personal data breaches.

EDPS also has more specific proposals for the Commission, including clearer guidance on the legal basis of data processing, Ggiving customers control of the frequency of meter reading and mandatory us of “privacy-enhancing technologies”.

It has also asked for specific guidance on data retention period and giving  customers access to their individual profiles and the data mining tools used on them

Some aspects of the UK approach received a cautious welcome by the watchdog, specifically public consultations run by the Government, and the guidance on privacy impact assessments provided by the Information Commissioner's Office.

In the UK the switchover will replace 53 million gas and electricity meters, involving visits to 30 million homes and small businesses, according to the Department of Energy & Climate Change. The mass roll-out of smart meters is expected to start in 2014 and be completed in 2019.

This article originally appeared at scmagazineuk.com

Copyright © SC Magazine, UK edition


Smart meters are dangerous data miners: EU privacy watchdog
 
 
 
Top Stories
ANZ looks to life beyond the transaction
If digital disruptors think an online payments startup could rock the big four, they’ve missed the point of why people use banks, says Patrick Maes.
 
What InfoSec can learn from the insurance industry
[Blog post] Another way data breach laws could help manage risk.
 
A ten-point plan for disrupting security
[Blog post] How can you defend the perimeter when it’s in the cloud?
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest Comments
Polls
What is delaying adoption of public cloud in your organisation?







   |   View results
Lock-in concerns
  29%
 
Application integration concerns
  3%
 
Security and compliance concerns
  27%
 
Unreliable network infrastructure
  9%
 
Data sovereignty concerns
  21%
 
Lack of stakeholder support
  3%
 
Protecting on-premise IT jobs
  4%
 
Difficulty transitioning CapEx budget into OpEx
  3%
TOTAL VOTES: 1043

Vote