The consequences of the implementation of the smart meter

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The consequences of the implementation of the smart meter
Master: project within::AI & Law
Student name: student name::Lisanne Hölscher
Dates
Start start date:=2012/09/21
End end date:=2013/09/30
Supervision
Supervisor: Dr. R. Hoekstra / mr. T.H.A. Wisman

Signature supervisor



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Abstract

Abstract KIM 2

This thesis concerns the smart meter, which is currently being rapidly deployed and is the cause of discussion and controversy regarding mainly the matter of privacy. The reasons given for the deployment of the smart meter are that it empowers consumers, stimulates the open energy market and that it is essential for the smart grid. The controversy is that the data gathered by the smart meter can seriously breach the privacy of people.

Many questions surround the deployment and the necessity of the smart meter. Some of these questions will be answered in this thesis, but others that fall beyond my scope will be left blank. Questions that will be treated are: why is the smart meter being deployed? What data does the smart meter collect? Who has access to the collected data? What sort of privacy issues can be expected? What can be done with the data that is collected? These questions are relevant as the answers to them contain the information necessary in order to assess what the risks are for the privacy of the consumers.

In order to find answers to these questions several sources originating from different fields are researched and discussed. Documentation on the functionalities of the smart meter will reveal what it collects, studies that concern privacy breaches caused by using data collected by the smart meter will be discussed and documents of privacy protection authorities and the European Commission will be used in order to find answers. By bringing together the information from several fields and authorities a more extensive overview of the issues surrounding the smart meter is given. The fact that it is possible to determine what appliances are in a house and what film someone has watched does not mean that it is or will become legal to extract that kind of information from the data. Whether or not this will happen on a large scale depends on what the meter actually collects. The fact that the meters are capable of collecting data with a small interval does not mean that they are set to do so. There is also the legal side: laws protect consumer rights and define for what purposes the data can and cannot be processed.