Internet of Things and Smart Grid to Fully Eviscerate Privacy

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Agenda 21 activist and Rense Radio talk show host Deborah Tavares will be a guest on this Sunday’s edition of Real Politik on Truth Frequency Radio.

By James F. Tracy

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.”[1]

As with other overfunded and unelected bureaucracies, such as 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 refers to all digital electronic and RFID-chipped devices wirelessly connected to the internet. The number of such items has increased dramatically since the early 2000s. In 2003 an estimated 500 million gadgets were connected, or about one for every twelve people on earth. By 2015 the number has grown 50 fold to an estimated 25 billion, or 3.5 units per person. By 2020 the IoT is expected to double the number of physical items it encompasses to 50 billion, or roughly 7 per individual.[2]

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.

Almost two decades ago media sociologist Rick Crawford defined Smart Grid technology as “real time residential power line surveillance” (RRPLS). These practices exhibited all the characteristics of eavesdropping and more. “Whereas primitive forms of power monitoring merely sampled one data point per month by checking the cumulative reading on the residential power meter,” Crawford explains,

modern forms of RRPLS permit nearly continued digital sampling. This allows watchers to develop a fine-grained profile of the occupants’ electrical appliance usage. The computerized RRPLS device may be placed on-site with the occupants’ knowledge and assent, or it may be hidden outside and surreptitiously attached to the power line feeding into the residence.

This device records a log of both resistive power levels and reactive loads as a function of time. The RRPLS device can extract characteristic appliance “signatures” from the raw data. For example, existing [1990s] RRPLS devices can identify whenever the sheets are thrown back from a water bed by detecting the duty cycles of the water bed heater. RRPLS can infer that two people shared a shower by noting an unusually heavy load on the electric water heater and that two uses of the hair dryer followed.[3]

A majority of utility companies are reluctant to acknowledge the profoundly advanced capabilities of these mechanisms that have now been effectively mandated for residential and business clients. Along these lines, when confronted with questions on whether the devices are able to gather usage data with such exactitude, company representatives are apparently compelled to feign ignorance or demur.

i210Yet the features Crawford describes and their assimilation with the IoT are indeed a part of General Electric’s I-210+C smart meter, among the most widely-deployed models in the US. This meter is equipped with not one, not two, but three transceivers, the I-210+C’s promotional brochure explains.[4]

One of the set’s transceivers uses ZigBee Pro protocols, “one of several wireless communication standards in the works to link up appliances, light bulbs, security systems, thermostats and other equipment in home and enterprises.”[5] With most every new appliance now required to be IoT-equipped, not only will consumer habits be increasingly monitored through energy usage, but over the longer term lifestyle and thus behavior will be transformed through power rationing, first in the form of “tiered usage,” and eventually in a less accommodating way through the remote control of “smart” appliances during peak hours.[6]

Information gathered from the combined IoT and Smart Grid will also be of immense value to marketers that up to now have basically been excluded from the domestic sphere. As an affiliate of WPP Pic., the world’s biggest ad agency put it, the data harvested by smart meters “opens the door to the home. Consumers are leaving a digital footprint that opens the door to their online habits and to their shopping habits and their location, and the last thing that is understood is the home, because at the moment when you shut the door, that’s it.”[7]

ESAs the FTC’s 2015 report makes clear, this is the sort of retail (permissible) criminality hastened by the merging of Smart Grid and IoT technologies also provides an immense facility for wholesale criminals to scan and monitor various households’ activities as potential targets for robbery, or worse.

The FTC, utility companies and smart meter manufacturers alike still defer to the Federal Communications Commission as confirmation of the alleged safety of Smart Grid and smart meter deployment. This is the case even though the FCC is not chartered to oversee public health and, basing its regulatory procedure on severely outdated science, maintains that microwave radiation is not a threat to public health so long as no individual’s skin or flesh have risen in temperature.

Yet in the home and workplace the profusion of wireless technologies such as ZigBee will compound the already significant collective radiation load of WiFi, cellular telephony, and the smart meter’s routine transmissions. The short term physiological impact will likely include weakened immunity, fatigue, and insomnia that can hasten terminal illnesses.[8]

Perhaps the greatest irony is how the Internet of Things, the Smart Grid and their attendant “Smart Home” are sold under the guise of convenience, personal autonomy, even knowledge production and wisdom. “The more data that is created,” Cisco gushes, “the more knowledge and wisdom people can obtain. IoT dramatically increases the amount of data available for us to process. This, coupled with the Internet’s ability to communicate this data, will enable people to advance even further.”[9]

In light of the grave privacy and health-related concerns posed by this techno tsunami, the members of a sane society might seriously ask themselves exactly where they are advancing, or being compelled to advance to.


[1] Federal Trade Commission, Internet of Things: Privacy and Security in a Connected World, Washington DC, January 2015. Accessible at

[2] Dave Evans, “The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of the Internet is Changing Everything, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group, April 2011, 3. Accessible at

[3] Rick Crawford, “Computer Assisted Crises,” in George Gerbner, Hamid Mowlana and Herbert I. Schiller (eds.) Invisible Crises: What Conglomerate Control of Media Means for American and the World, Boulder CO: Westview Press, 1996, 47-81.

[4] “I-210+C with Silver Spring Networks Micro-AP” [Brochure], General Electric, Atlanta Georgia. Accessible at

[5] Stephen Lawson, “ZigBee 3.0 Promises One Smart Home Standard for Many Uses,”, November 16, 2014.

[6] One of the United States’ largest utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, has already introduced tiered pricing to curb energy usage in summer months during “high demand” times of the day.

[7] Louise Downing, “WPP Unit, Onzo Study Harvesting Smart-Meter Data,”, May 11, 2014.

[8] Sue Kovach, “The Hidden Dangers of Cellphone Radiation,” Life Extension Magazine, August 2007; James F. Tracy, “Looming Health Crisis: Wireless Technology and the Toxification of America,”, July 8, 2012.

[9] Evans, 6.

21 thoughts on “Internet of Things and Smart Grid to Fully Eviscerate Privacy”

  1. I would just like to state here, now, that I am a low-income, lo-tech small-sized farmer, in my fifties. My wife and I raised three abundantly healthy and wonderful children. I have always preferred a limited technological approach, the same way one might use the least amount of force necessary to do a task so that you might not overwhelm either it (the task and its contents) or yourself. This is also known as thrift and self-control and is equated with natural health and vibrancy and the principle of the Tao or Great Way.

    Because of chronic income deficiencies, we (my wife and I) were pleased some years back to become ‘certified organic’. But instead of being a godsend and a much needed financial boost, the ‘certified organic’ industry and I do emphasize -INDUSTRY- took total advantage of us and made matters of household income and financial well-being worse, much worse for us.

    Organic Valley, La Farge, Wi. became our chief adversary and betrayer of our faith and income dependence. They destroyed our tiny herd of cows, using modern economic and technological forms of extortion, deceit and even, in latter stages of our relationship, vicious slander.

    I asked many lawyers and legal firms for aid and got none. I pleaded with certain organizations within the organic certified movement for help and was not answered. I even asked Wendell Berry, well known author of many books favoring small farms and simple living along with a number of his peers (Gene Logsdon, Wes Jackson, David Kline et al) to investigate our stiuation and he (and they) all refused–in essence giving their blanket approval to a monopolistic business entity of dubious moral integrity and of the type they have (in their collective writings) all written and (in their public speeches) spoken out against.

    I believe now, in my heart, that because of technology and its precipitous and unopposed (by enough genuine knowing caring hearts) rise, our world is damned. I said DAMNED.

    The sadness I have now, and the anger, seems beyond my ability to heal within myself.

    Ned Lud

    1. Ned, your peers did not “refuse” to help you, per se. More likely they feared to be hurt themselves from this juggernaut of power that pervades most organizations and individuals. This is why non-Zionist jews who might well differ greatly from the mindset of their Zionist brothers keep quiet. They don’t want to incur the wrath of the group in power,lest they become targets themselves.

    2. Ned,

      Like you, I spent many decades conducting business with honor and integrity. Only to learn that, in modern business, acting in a humane manner towards your fellow man often results to the detriment of one’s self. Especially when the other party ruthlessly employs the services of lawyers.

      Face the facts. The whole system is a cheat. The motivating factor for the masses is to 1) please your boss so you retain the salaried teat and 2) help the richest of the rich make more money by any means necessary. You get closer to trickle-down sources the more you behave unethically and immorally. If you prove yourself to be a one dimensional SOB psychopath, you may get jail time. Or serve more powerful masters.

      Don’t let it get you down, though. What happened to you has happened to many a talented and inspired musician, author, toy-maker, shop owner, and other artists, entrepreneurs, and really nice, really loving men and women from all walks of life.

      I spent many years reflecting on my failures in the business world. One day I woke up and realized that the entire money-based system was basically a slave economy. From there, I, like many who gather here, wanted to know the real truth.

      I have always known that my life would be meaningless if I did not leave the world in a better condition for all of our children. That has been my greatest weakness in business: to do it right and smart, evaluating the panorama of effects, and opting with integrity. Stupid me. If I had cheated, I would probably be a billionaire today.

      I have since re-examined this basic tenet. Today, all I care about is for my kids to find real happiness in a world that has very few sane people in it.

      To this end, my kids will need to meet other non-assimilated humans to build and enjoy a life that has meaning. I hope you will stick around Ned. You are a kindred spirit.

    3. Ned Lud, would you be able to heal if you thought that the way you are feeling right now is exactly how our oppressors want you to feel, hopeless and powerless? Would you then think, I refuse to feel this way. I hope you will not comply. They just may set this technology up in all our lives and homes, but don’t let them set up shop in your heart. [youtube

  2. seems to be a non-issue. People regularly give up all of this information and more on Facebook voluntarily.

    I’d like to see more studies done on the carcinogenicity of the smart meters. Let’s face it, invasive surveillance is here to stay – it’s only going to get worse.

  3. So Cal Gas Co. sent me a notice that they were installing a “smart Meter” on my Gas Meter. I didn’t know the Gas co did this, I thought just the Electric Co. did which I opted out for free, so far.

    Anyway, I can “Opt” out for a mere $75.00 a month service charge to pay the meter reader. This is so wrong.

    My Gas bill is under that every month for all my appliances are electric.

    And the meter is just outside the bedroom window. oooch
    Go figure….

    1. Oh yes, SoCal Gas Co. installed a new meter on a relative’s house back in November, and I just heard from two different people in the district that their recent gas bills doubled from the last one. I myself have no gas, all electric.

      1. Anne,
        When I was remodeling my house and wasn’t living there the electric bill was like $175.00 every 2 months. (normally around $500.00 occupied)

        When it came time to “light Up” the house from temp. power, they snuck a smart meter on. I didn’t know what it was but it was a”new” model they told me.

        My Electric bill almost doubled. I complained and they snickered
        I quote” well maybe you’ve been paying too little all along”

        1. Ric, do you by any chance use Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power (LADWP)? If you do, you have my sympathy.

        2. Yes, I do..haha.
          Funny thing about DWP is it’s supposed to be owned by the people of Los Angeles as a service of this municipality, in essence we are supposed to get our Electricity,Water and Trash at wholesale prices for we Own and Operate these services.

          They charge the same fees as PG&E and Edison for no one here understands to complain. I may be wrong but I think I’m right.

        3. Think ENRON! That was a “community based” scam as well. I can assure you that you get your juice from PG&E. Whatever rate they give your friendly “local” supplier, there’s a fee attached for their services.

          My father worked for PG&E for many years. They had a monopoly but it was regulated. When they decided to break that up it was like a pack of jackals on a fresh kill.

          Parasites, the lot of ’em. I sympathize. I have had exactly the same problems. we were gone for a month once with the house shut up and everything shut down and the bill increased.

          They milk us dry. Now they want to invade our privacy and charge us more for using less. It isn’t “capitalism” it’s “parasitism”.

        4. My daughter had a different experience with LADWP. She got no bill and had to beg and plead to get one. She bought an old, charming house in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. The house needed some basic upgrading and in the process the electric meter was moved to a different location. For six months, despite numerous requests, no electric bill arrived. She finally got hold of the phone number to someone high up on the LADWP ladder, with the promise not to divulge how she got the number. She spoke to this very important person and got a promise that the situation would be resolved. Two months ago she got a bill for over 3,000 dollars – bill that made no sense, with instructions to pay in six installments. The subsequent bill made no sense either.

          I believe the missing 41 million dollars from DWP is still unaccounted for.

  4. Continuing reason to get as far off the grid as possible. Sure it’s tilting st windmills but some of us gotta try. Hey Tracey, you got my negative land album?

  5. Excellent article, sad, but factual. For us “spaghetti-brained” types, who see connections in everything, this is but one more nail in our coffin. James is sensitive to the irony that most of these “developments” are sold as “convenience”. Who’s convenience?

    As he points out, most think that they have a government who’s agencies act as “watchdogs” on our behalf. This is laughable. They are peopled by industry representatives and other tools who, quite simply, do not work for us.

    Ask yourselves, why is there such a need for total control? We are being forced into a hive. The same device that intrudes on our private lives will be used to shut down unwanted behavior. Some unaccountable entity will make our decisions for us, like it or not.

    I remember how much of this began. Forcing employers to direct deposit pay to banks. Forcing (encouraging) the use of debit cards. Recording all of our purchases. The push to eliminate cash. Confiscating sums of cash at airports and along highways that some authority determines suspicious.

    Just as we’ve been observing with the SHES and BMB events, these things are designed to make the eaters feel like they are somehow contributing to society’s improvement. Soon, concepts such as privacy, or independence of mind will become criminal.

    We are watched, marketed, oppressed, blackballed, and categorized through means such as those herein described. In short, we are all “targeted individuals”. Now they are demanding cooperation. Soon they will demand total support. Those who refuse to cooperate will be dealt with.

  6. As a parent who home-schools, I am fortunate to have some measure of control over my sons young developing brain. And I say ‘some’ because I can’t keep him in a bubble. At the same time he does need to understand this world he lives in.
    And being that he is a bright little bugger, I do allow him to watch YouTube with me. He knows all about Sandy Hook & Boston.
    Most of what we watch together makes perfect sense to him, and I assume it’s because they have not had a chance to brainwash him yet! Additionally I am blessed because I can custom design his curriculum.

    We don’t have regular TV so he does not get to hear or see the news. Because of this he is quite good at spotting the BS if he happens to be somewhere else watching television. He does stay the night at friends houses and he goes to his dads every other weekend. I’m hoping that what I teach him here carries with him when he leaves out the door.

    He has an old Android that is not a true “phone”. But when connected to wifi he gets most of the bells and whistles. I severely limit this time, much to his dismay. His other nine year old friends carry them around as if they’re grown adults! Makes me crazy.

    The benefits to him having an Android-
    He has an electronic dictionary and calculator when he is doing school work.

    It’s a great resource free ebooks & audio books, almost all of which are free. (Not to mention he wanted to spend most of his gift card money from Amazon on Kindle books rather than junk:)

    It’s a radio.

    It’s a camera.

    It has a video camera ( I am highly entertained by his homemade Lego movies I must admit 😉

    It’s an audio recording device, which he uses to remind him of things, help remember his school lessons, and vents when he’s mad lol

    It’s an alarm clock, and we use the timer quite often in cooking, math drills, or when he has a certain amount of time to play on the computer or Xbox.

    Now I do let him obviously play games. And there are quite a few educational ones out there. But it is limited. And even with these limits, if he is in trouble and cannot use his “phone”, he looks like an addict! It’s really scary.

    So this year I’m going to spend my tax refund on a Kindle, a calculator, a digital recorder, and an mp3 player. In the past I thought it was silly. And I know a lot of these new devices are just as bad as the old. I am going to get ones as simplified as I can. And I have an old computer and cords, so I can still live with devices that are not WiFi enabled. Even his xbox still needs an ethernet cord, so old it won’t even hook up a Kinect.

    We also live in a somewhat rural area. I say somewhat, because downtown is only 10 minutes away, yet we don’t even have DSL here! We do have broadband cable, so it’s not the total sticks, but that’s only been the last 5 years. Its only was 4 years ago 911 came through and got rid of the rural route and gave us a real address!

    We do a lot of our school and outside, and it’s very “hands on”. I use no traditional textbooks, no specifically designed curriculum, and I limit his computer time as well.

    Yet at 9 years old he can create an animated gif, he knows HTML and CSS and is beginning his own WordPress blog!
    He knows how to create a bibliography and properly annotate his work. And he is quite the little researcher! In essence, what I’m trying to say is I am hoping to instill in him that these are tools, not a way of life.

    In addition, my appliances are old, my car is ancient and so far we are not completely on the grid! (I don’t know if it makes a difference, but my phone is usually off or on airplane mode. If I need to speak to someone I turn it on. I know what they can do to a phone with the battery in it, but I do know once I put it on airplane mode, I stopped getting as many ads in my email and Twitter from where I shop and get gas! Which is really creepy.)
    I think living in the Appalachian area helps to inhibit this because these mountains are a pain in the neck to work around.

    As far as the utilities, I’m assuming electrically we are “on the grid”. But I still see the water company and the gas company coming out to read the meter. And we don’t even have sewer out here yet…. but with the Electric Company’s meter I don’t know if that even matters.

    P.S. Just as I say that, a neighbor, on his four wheeler, drives past my house into the woods with his son, to go hunting.

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