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Smart Meters Reveal What You're Watching 170

xororand writes "H-Online reports that 'researchers at the Münster University of Applied Sciences have discovered that it is possible to use electricity usage data from smart electricity meters to determine which programmes consumers are watching on a standard TV set. By analysing electricity consumption patterns, it is, in principle, also possible to identify films played from a DVD or other source.' It's time for some clever EEs to come up with a countermeasure. Unfortunately alumfoil hats have already been dismissed."
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Smart Meters Reveal What You're Watching

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  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Informative)

    by MatthiasF (1853064) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @03:28PM (#37459956)

    You could also buy a cheap uninterruptable power supply (battery) or line filter (capacitors) for the same effect.

    Unlikely the battery or filter would draw 1 for 1 from the wall and would probably smooth the signal out enough to be indistinguishable.

  • by sxltrex (198448) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @05:35PM (#37461608)

    I work for a large utility that is currently implementing an AMI system. I can tell you from first hand knowledge that no utility gets (or wants) usage data from its customers every 2 seconds. At my utility we collect usage in 1 hour bins for residential customers and 15 minute bins for commercial and industrial customers. The amount of database storage we would need to collect 2 second interval data from all of our customers would be staggering. As it is we've had to invest in a large server farm to handle the data we are getting.

    If I had to guess I'd say that the 2 second intervals are for in-home monitoring using a ZigBee HAN, or something similar (the EasyMeter website is in German and does not appear to have much technical info).

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.