• 20 APR 15

    Does Christopher Portier have a massive conflict of interest when it comes to smart meters?

    If ever there is a need for a precautionary principle for RF technology it would have to be for the massive global roll-out for smart meter technology.

    In the last posting “Dr. Christopher Porter, Fmr. Director of the US CDC, calls for invoking the Precautionary Principle for RF-EMF” it seems that there might be a bit of spin in Porter’s support for a PC for wireless technology. It now appears that Porter’s call does not include health hazards from smart meter RF emissions because of his involvement in an astroturf organisation actively promoting the roll-out of smart meters.

    Consider:
    SNIP

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    • 06 APR 15

    Public submissions from Tasmania’s draft energy strategy are now available online

    Notice from Stop Smart Meters Australia:

    Public submissions from Tasmania’s draft energy strategy are now available online
    Posted on April 6, 2015 by Stop Smart Meters Australia

    Submissions from the public on Tasmania’s draft energy strategy paper titled ‘Restoring Tasmania’s Energy Advantage’ are available for viewing online.
    The majority of respondents raised concern regarding Tasmania’s vision, which includes ‘accommodating new technologies (such as smart meters), to ensure that the interests of Tasmanian customers are advanced.’ Stop Smart Meters Australia’s submission is listed as ‘SSMA’.
    SNIP

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    • 30 MAR 15

    UK’s Institute of Directors (IoD) issue report critical of the UK government’s “smart” meter program.

    A premier United Kingdom business organization, the 34,500 members strong Institute of Directors (IoD), has just issued a press release announcing their 21 page report critical of the UK government’s “smart” meter program. The report calls for Smart Meters scheme to be ‘halted, altered or scrapped’ to avoid ‘unjustified, over-engineered and expensive mistake’
    “The Government’s rollout of Smart Meters, digital energy meters designed to provide real-time usage statistics, should be “halted, altered or scrapped” to avoid a potentially catastrophic government IT disaster, the Institute of Directors warns today.” …The report places the rollout of Smart Meters within the context of previous large-scale IT fiascos, including the infamous NHS National Programme for IT, the eBorders Programme and the BBC’s disastrous Digital Media Initiative. Furthermore, a recent survey shows that 80 per cent of IoD members rate the ability of government to manage large IT projects as “poor or very poor”.
    SNIP

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    • 12 MAR 15

    What will happen when the internet of things becomes artificially intelligent?

    From The Guardian:

    Excerpt

    When Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Elon Musk all agree on something, it’s worth paying attention.

    All three have warned of the potential dangers that artificial intelligence or AI can bring. The world’s foremost physicist, Hawking said that the full development of artificial intelligence (AI) could “spell the end of the human race”. Musk, the tech entrepreneur who brought us PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX described artificial intelligence as our “biggest existential threat” and said that playing around with AI was like “summoning the demon”. Gates, who knows a thing or two about tech, puts himself in the “concerned” camp when it comes to machines becoming too intelligent for us humans to control.

    What are these wise souls afraid of? AI is broadly described as the ability of computer systems to ape or mimic human intelligent behavior. This could be anything from recognizing speech, to visual perception, making decisions and translating languages. Examples run from Deep Blue who beat chess champion Garry Kasparov to supercomputer Watson who outguessed the world’s best Jeopardy player. Fictionally, we have Her, Spike Jonze’s movie that depicts the protagonist, played by Joaquin Phoenix, falling in love with his operating system, seductively voiced by Scarlet Johansson. And coming soon, Chappie stars a stolen police robot who is reprogrammed to make conscious choices and to feel emotions.

    An important component of AI, and a key element in the fears it engenders, is the ability of machines to take action on their own without human intervention. This could take the form of a computer reprogramming itself in the face of an obstacle or restriction. In other words, to think for itself and to take action accordingly.
    SNIP

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    • 12 MAR 15

    Hacked dog, a car that snoops on you and a fridge full of adverts: the perils of the internet of things

    From The Guardian

    Excerpt

    If we think of today’s internet metaphorically as about the size of a golf ball, tomorrow’s will be the size of the sun. Within the coming years, not only will every computer, phone and tablet be online, but so too will every car, house, dog, bridge, tunnel, cup, clock, watch, pacemaker, cow, streetlight, bridge, tunnel, pipeline, toy and soda can. Though in 2013 there were only 13bn online devices, Cisco Systems has estimated that by 2020 there will be 50bn things connected to the internet, with room for exponential growth thereafter. As all of these devices come online and begin sharing data, they will bring with them massive improvements in logistics, employee efficiency, energy consumption, customer service and personal productivity.

    This is the promise of the internet of things (IoT), a rapidly emerging new paradigm of computing that, when it takes off, may very well change the world we live in forever.

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    • 14 FEB 15

    Samsung warns customers not to discuss personal information in front of smart TVs

    Samsung has confirmed that its “smart TV” sets are listening to customers’ every word, and the company is warning customers not to speak about personal information while near the TV sets.

    The company revealed that the voice activation feature on its smart TVs will capture all nearby conversations. The TV sets can share the information, including sensitive data, with Samsung as well as third-party services.

    The news comes after Shane Harris at The Daily Beast pointed out a troubling line in Samsung’s privacy policy: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”
    SNIP

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    • 04 FEB 15

    Digital Electronic “Internet of Things”(IoT) and “Smart Grid Technologies” to Fully Eviscerate Privacy

    By Prof. James F. Tracy
    Global Research, February 02, 2015

    The “Internet of Things” (IoT) and Smart Grid technologies will together be aggressively integrated into the developed world’s socioeconomic fabric with little-if-any public or governmental oversight. This is the overall opinion of a new report by the Federal Trade Commission, which has announced a series of “recommendations” to major utility companies and transnational corporations heavily invested in the IoT and Smart Grid, suggesting that such technologies should be rolled out almost entirely on the basis of “free market” principles so as not to stifle “innovation.” As with the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, the FTC functions to provide the semblance of democratic governance and studied concern as it allows corporate monied interests and prerogatives to run roughshod over the body politic…..The IoT is developing in tandem with the “Smart Grid,” comprised of tens of millions of wireless transceivers (a combination cellular transmitter and receiver) more commonly known as “smart meters.” Unlike conventional wireless routers, smart meters are regarded as such because they are equipped to capture, store, and transmit an abundance of data on home energy usage with a degree of precision scarcely imagined by utility customers. On the contrary, energy consumers are typically appeased with persuasive promotional materials from their power company explaining how smart meter technology allows patrons to better monitor and control their energy usage.
    SNIP

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    • 28 JAN 15

    What Happens To Privacy When The Internet Is In Everything?

    From the Techcrunch website:

    Jan 25, 2015 by Natasha Lomas

    Excerpt:

    This week Google’s Eric Schmidt was on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he suggested that the future Internet will be, in one sense, invisible — because it will be embedded into everything we interact with. “The Internet will disappear,” he predicted (via The Hollywood Reporter). “There will be so many IP addresses…so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it. It will be part of your presence all the time. “Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room.”
    SNIP

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    • 09 JAN 15

    Welcome to the Matrix: Enslaved by Technology and the Internet of Things

    Sent in by Laura Jacobsen as published by The Rutherford Institute

    Excerpt

    Welcome to the Matrix: Enslaved by Technology and the Internet of Things

    By John W. Whitehead
    January 07, 2015

    “There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me.’” ― Philip K. Dick

    If ever Americans sell their birthright, it will be for the promise of expediency and comfort delivered by way of blazingly fast Internet, cell phone signals that never drop a call, thermostats that keep us at the perfect temperature without our having to raise a finger, and entertainment that can be simultaneously streamed to our TVs, tablets and cell phones.

    Likewise, if ever we find ourselves in bondage, we will have only ourselves to blame for having forged the chains through our own lassitude, laziness and abject reliance on internet-connected gadgets and gizmos that render us wholly irrelevant.

    Indeed, while most of us are consumed with our selfies and trying to keep up with what our so-called friends are posting on Facebook, the megacorporation Google has been busily partnering with the National Security Agency (NSA), the Pentagon, and other governmental agencies to develop a new “human” species, so to speak.

    In other words, Google—a neural network that approximates a global brain—is fusing with the human mind in a phenomenon that is called “singularity,” and they’ve hired transhumanist scientist Ray Kurzweil to do just that. Google will know the answer to your question before you have asked it, Kurzweil said. “It will have read every email you will ever have written, every document, every idle thought you’ve ever tapped into a search-engine box. It will know you better than your intimate partner does. Better, perhaps, than even yourself.”

    But here’s the catch: the NSA and all other government agencies will also know you better than yourself. As William Binney, one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA said, “The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control.”

    SNIP

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    • 04 JAN 15

    Smart meters proposed for Tasmania in new Tas. government draft for public comment

    It had to come: The industry push (with the usual spin) to introduce smart meters in Tasmania. Note that in the government’s draft policy statement public comments are invited until February 15, 2015. I will certainly be sending in a submission and invite all interested individuals and groups to send in submission as well.

    Don Maisch

    **********************************************************************

    The following appeared in the Tasmanian Mercury newspaper on December 22, 2014:

    Bid to restore energy advantage with pay-less power strategy

    DAVID KILLICK
    Mercury
    December 22, 2014 12:00AM

    SMART meters, an increased uptake of electric vehicles and a second Basslink cable look set to be part of Tasmania’s energy future.

    Releasing a draft of the state’s energy strategy yesterday, Energy Minister Matthew Groom said the aim was to drive down the cost of electricity prices for all Tasmanians.“This is about ensuring that in Tasmania we have the lowest possible power prices that are genuinely sustainable over the long term,” he said.

    The policy has nine goals, among them ensuring a safe, secure, and reliable supply; that Tasmanian electricity prices will be among the lowest in Australia; and that consumers will have greater choice in how to meet their energy supply needs and will pay competitive, fair and predictable prices for those choices.
    SNIP

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    • 10 DEC 14

    Australian smart meter health impact paper now published

    This paper was published in the November/ December 2014 issue of the Journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and strengthens the urgent need for independent research on the health impacts (such as sleep disruption) from smart meter emissions.

    From PubMed online

    Altern Ther Health Med. 2014 Nov;20(6):28-39.
    Self-reporting of symptom development from exposure to radiofrequency fields of wireless smart meters in victoria, australia: a case series.
    Lamech F.

    Abstract

    Context • In 2006, the government in the state of Victoria, Australia, mandated the rollout of smart meters in Victoria, which effectively removed a whole population’s ability to avoid exposure to human-made high-frequency nonionizing radiation. This issue appears to constitute an unprecedented public health challenge for Victoria. By August 2013, 142 people had reported adverse health effects from wireless smart meters by submitting information on an Australian public Web site using its health and legal registers. Objective • The study evaluated the information in the registers to determine the types of symptoms that Victorian residents were developing from exposure to wireless smart meters. Design • In this case series, the registers’ managers eliminated those cases that did not clearly identify the people providing information by name, surname, postal address, and/or e-mail to make sure that they were genuine registrants. Then they obtained consent from participants to have their deidentified data used to compile the data for the case series. The author later removed any individual from outside of Victoria. Participants • The study included 92 residents of Victoria, Australia. Outcome Measures • The author used her medical experience and judgment to group symptoms into clinically relevant clusters (eg, pain in the head was grouped with headache, tinnitus was grouped with ringing in the ears). The author stayed quite close to the wording used in the original entries.
    SNIP

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    • 04 DEC 14

    More madness from the Internet of Things: A Bluetooth-enabled dummy

    Source: Anand Wells from Earthing OZ

    The Telegrapk UK

    How to sync your baby with your iPhone

    Excerpt

    A new Bluetooth-enabled dummy constantly records your baby’s temperature and alerts you if they start to get ill, and will even sound an alarm if they wander away from you

    The Internet of Things has seen everything from our watches, heating thermostats and smoke alarms connected to our smartphones via Bluetooth. But a Surrey-based company now wants to connect your baby, too.

    The Pacifi is a Bluetooth-enabled dummy which can record your baby’s temperature throughout the day via a sensor in the teat and beam the data back to your smartphone. From a special app you can then monitor for warning signs that they are getting ill.

    You can even set up automatic alerts to warn you if the temperature rises above a certain point, and share all of that data with your doctor at the tap of a button.

    Pacifi also features an in-built proximity sensor that allows parents to track the pacifier’s location. Within the app users can set alarms which are triggered when a child breaches a certain distance, which can range up to 50 metres.

    The pacifier also features a buzzer alarm than can be activated via a smartphone when it has been lost or misplaced.

    SNIP

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    • 18 NOV 14

    G20 and CEET on the energy efficiency problem for the Internet of Things

    Just published by the G20 is the report, G20 ENERGY EFFICIENCY ACTION PLAN VOLUNTARY COLLABORATION ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY, 16 NOVEMBER 2014. Of note in the report is the section titled Networked devices. It mentions here that the huge amount of power required, even when networked devices are not in use but in standby mode, is an emerging challenge considering the estimated 50 billion devices to be connected by the Internet of Things (IoT) (Excerpt below)

    Note that the report is only about energy usage when all these devices are on standby. What about when they are in use? Interesting to ponder what would be the overall energy drain from a planned global IoT?

    Relevant reading here is an earlier report titled: The Power of Wireless Cloud, from The Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET). Note that CEET is not some Green group but a partnership between Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Labs and University of Melbourne. Following the G20 extract are selected extracts from the CEET report.

    This all suggests that coming IoT is actually an energy monster that can only add to the problem of global warming. Not very Green but more of an ecological time bomb, to say the least….
    SNIP

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    • 15 NOV 14

    The Creepy New Wave of the Internet

    The below article raised the question, are we entering A utopian world or something else? Whatever the case we are fast entering a world of corporate social engineering on a global scale where the only concern is how to best maximize Profits. Welcome to the Matrix…..

    Highly recommended reading this one!

    Don
    ********************************************************************

    From the New York Review of Books:

    By Sue Halpern November 20, 2014

    Selected excerpts

    Welcome to the beginning of what is being touted as the Internet’s next wave by technologists, investment bankers, research organizations, and the companies that stand to rake in some of an estimated $14.4 trillion by 2022—what they call the Internet of Things (IoT). Cisco Systems, which is one of those companies, and whose CEO came up with that multitrillion-dollar figure, takes it a step further and calls this wave “the Internet of Everything,” which is both aspirational and telling. The writer and social thinker Jeremy Rifkin, whose consulting firm is working with businesses and governments to hurry this new wave along, describes it like this:

    The Internet of Things will connect every thing with everyone in an integrated global network. People, machines, natural resources, production lines, logistics networks, consumption habits, recycling flows, and virtually every other aspect of economic and social life will be linked via sensors and software to the IoT platform, continually feeding Big Data to every node—businesses, homes, vehicles—moment to moment, in real time. Big Data, in turn, will be processed with advanced analytics, transformed into predictive algorithms, and programmed into automated systems to improve thermodynamic efficiencies, dramatically increase productivity, and reduce the marginal cost of producing and delivering a full range of goods and services to near zero across the entire economy.

    SNIP

    For years, a cohort of technologists, most notably Ray Kurzweil, the writer, inventor, and director of engineering at Google, have been predicting the day when computer intelligence surpasses human intelligence and merges with it in what they call the Singularity. We are not there yet, but a kind of singularity is already upon us as we swallow pills embedded with microscopic computer chips, activated by stomach acids, that will be able to report compliance with our doctor’s orders (or not) directly to our electronic medical records. Then there is the singularity that occurs when we outfit our bodies with “wearable technology” that sends data about our physical activity, heart rate, respiration, and sleep patterns to a database in the cloud as well as to our mobile phones and computers (and to Facebook and our insurance company and our employer).

    SNIP

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    • 09 NOV 14

    The digital chatter of smart meters could soon replace human communications on the GSM mobile phone network

    From the the physics arXiv blog

    Excerpt

    How Intelligent Machines Could Take Over the GSM Network
    Posted: 07 Nov 2014 07:08 AM PST
    The digital chatter of smart meters could soon replace human communications on the GSM mobile phone network, say network engineers.

    Back in 1991, the then Finnish prime minister, Harri Holkeri, made a phone call that would go down in history, at least as far as trivia fans are concerned. This was the first call made using the GSM phone protocol that has since gone on to dominate mobile telecommunication networks around the world. In 2008, more than three billion people were connected to this network.

    GSM is a so-called second generation technology and since then, it has been superseded by 3G and 4G networks. Now telecommunications policymakers around the world are considering switching off the GSM network and finding other uses for the radio frequencies allocated to it. The Chinese city of Macau is set to be the first, having planned to phase out its GSM networks from June next year. That may be a shortsighted decision. Today, German Corrales Madueňo and a few pals at Aalborg University in Denmark, say that the GSM system should become a dedicated network for intelligent machines to communicate with each other. They have calculated the capacity of such a network and how it could become the communications backbone of a new generation of smart meters.
    SNIP

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    • 09 NOV 14

    Anazon’s new idiot box, The Echo. A new smart surveillance device the NSA will love.

    This is the latest in intrusive gadgets. Among other things it it records everything within the reach of its integrated microphones and then uploads everything into the “cloud” as it learns about you and your family. Warning: With this device don’t discuss anything near it that you don’t want to share with whomever hacks into the cloud.

    http://www.amazon.com/oc/echo/ref_=ods_dp_ae

    And for an alternative youtube version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GijLoiVkmYI

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    • 03 NOV 14

    “Green Electricity or Green Money? Why some environmental groups hamper clean energy (and support the smart grid)

    Excerpt
    The National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy has published a new paper, “Green Electricity or Green Money? Why some environmental groups hamper clean energy”, by Timothy Schoechle, PhD. It highlights conflicts of interest and mistaken positions on energy policy at certain large environmental organizations. Please share widely and help us shine a light on this important issue impeding transformation to a clean energy economy…..This article examines two of the three largest environmental organizations, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and offers specific cases where they appear to have lost their way and are failing us when we need them most. These cases show the pitfalls of the compromises and accommodations that many environmentalists have made in order to raise money and support their organizational growth as well as their political and other goals. They also show that true leadership and change can only spring from the people and not from governments and entrenched institutions…..The case below of the EDF looks at its vigorous advocacy of “smart meters”, devices that have been shown to have dubious energy merits and serious environmental, privacy, and public policy drawbacks. The promotion of smart meters has diverted massive financial resources in directions tangential to the goals of a truly intelligent electricity grid and integration of community-based clean energy, and has fed public cynicism about the “smart grid”—the last thing one would expect a leading environmental organization to do. The case also looks at EDF’s role in fostering the deceptive siren call of the supposedly “green” energy investment mirage by venture capitalists, financiers, and government.
    SNIP

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    • 18 OCT 14

    Victorian Government to fight electricity price rises over smart meter cost overruns (Victoria Australia)

    Excerpt

    Updated 11 Oct 2014

    ABC News

    A plan by the state’s electricity suppliers to make households pay for a blowout in the budget for the installation of smart meter across the state has been rejected by the Victorian Government. The state’s Energy Minister was responding to a report by News Limited that suppliers had asked the Australian Energy Regulator to approve household price increases to cover hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cost overruns by the companies. That could add hundreds of dollars to yearly power bills.
    SNIP

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    • 02 OCT 14

    The Internet of Things is ’70 percent hackable’

    The Internet of Things is promising a heady future of connected homes and connected businesses but hackers are currently threatening the outcome, according to a new study from multinational tech firm Hewlett-Packard. The study looked at 10 kinds of Internet of Things gadgets, such as smart TVs, webcams and thermostats, and found 70% of all Internet of Things devices are hackable. It found there was average of 25 different vulnerable points in each device, meaning 250 vulnerabilities across just 10 devices. That’s a lot of legroom for hackers to move, and may point to a potential future in which people’s entire homes can be hacked.
    SNIP

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    • 30 SEP 14

    Ralph Nader’s Viewpoint on Smart Meters: A “Step Toward Technological Despotism”

    From Patricia Burke:

    A wonderful radio interview on Ralph Nader Radio prompted by a call from someone named Ken Herrmann from San Luis Obispo, California.
    Excerpt

    Ralph Nader: “[Smart meters are] one of many examples of how the constitutional right to privacy, which often is associated also with health, safety, security manifestations, is being eroded, step by step, coercively. It’s like they’re driving us into the credit economy instead of using a cash economy by actually penalizing people who use cash instead of a credit card or a debit card. And when you add all this up, you’re basically stripping individual citizens of what remains as consumers of control over their own lives. … and putting it in the hands of Big Corporations backed by Big Government; what the conservatives call crony capitalism…The propaganda is overwhelming on one side. Oh, here are the great benefits; they never mention the hazards…It’s just one more step toward technological despotism that corporations and government collude under various false arguments.”
    SNIP

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