Privacy Violation: PG&E’s “Smart”meters Apparently Send Your Data UN-Encrypted !

The job of a Burglar and a Stalker is now easier than ever – thanks to Smartmeters.

I just found a revealing section of PG&E’s Public Relations materials (always of dubious factual accuracy) that indicates that your personal data sent from your so-called “Smart”meter is NOT encrypted or coded.

It appears that your personal energy use data is not encrypted until after it is collected by a neighborhood device called an “access point device.”

In the meantime your uncoded plaintext (completely readable) data may have been relayed and sent by half a dozen (my estimate) or more neighboring “smart”meters before it gets to the “access point device.”

PG&E’s document says —

“The electric network access point collects meter data from nearby electric meters and periodically transfers this data to PG&E via a secure cellular network. Each RF mesh-enabled device (meters, relays) is connected to several other mesh-enabled devices, which function as signal repeaters, relaying the data to an access point. The access point device aggregates, encrypts, and sends the data back to PG&E over a secure commercial third-party network.”

In English this means –

Combining and Collecting Step: Each smartmeter captures and transmits your neighbors signals (or vice versa), then your combined personal data is relayed using radio signals to an access point device; and collector of neighborhood data.

Encryption and Transmit Step: Only then does your data get encrypted (coded) by the “access point device.” Then the combined and encrypted data is sent to PG&E over a (now irrelevantly secure) cell-phone line.

Here’s the PG&E Webpage —

That means your neighborhood burglar doesn’t even need special software to crack your data – because it is not coded until it has been sent by radio signals through the air of your neighborhood.

This contradicts everything PG&E’s Public Relations spinners have told government officials in public meetings. When asked about hacking the data they have insisted that they use the highest quality encryption software, and “no one has ever broken into a cell-phone network.”

They “forgot” to tell us that our personal power use data can be captured by anyone – long before it ever gets to the encryption step.

Now burglars can tell when you are away from home with a simple standard laptop and an inexpensive WiFi card.

Of course you already knew we can’t trust PG&E (who killed 8 people with their San Bruno fireball), and we can’t trust the PUC — it was their systematic incompetence and negligence that allowed PG&E to foment the deadly fireball that destroyed 37 homes.


1. Notice how it clearly says “The access point device … encrypts, and sends the data back to PG&E”

However it never says or implies that each individual SmartMeter™ encrypts your data.

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5 Responses to Privacy Violation: PG&E’s “Smart”meters Apparently Send Your Data UN-Encrypted !

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  5. Anon A. Mus says:

    I wish capturing my data as simple as a laptop and a wi-fi card. Progress Energy just installed the meter on my home.

    What better way to lower your electric bill than by monitoring your home energy usage? Yet, Progress Energy isn’t progressive enough to release how to get your data real-time.

    Your idea of an ease-dropping burglar would make sense if that person had a few thousand to spend on developing a way to read your meter from a far. Then he or she will have to figure out if the electric usage is because you’re sleeping, a frugal energy user, or away.

    Of course, if you’re Mr. McMoneybags and they can sit close enough to your mansion for a few weeks to build up a energy history, maybe you have something to worry about. Unless they’re good thieves with a concern about your electric bill, and want to help you pay it.

    My bet is that most thieves will take the easy way and look at your house lights and listen for the TV to be on.

    With greater privacy concerns afoot, I wouldn’t sweat the energy data radio so much.

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