Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Sunday, August 4, 2013
The new water meters sound great. However, the issues of consumer privacy and system data security are not mentioned. Ideally, they should be part of the performance contract.
Clearly there are some useful purposes for rate payers. However, negative rate payer consequences could also result. Law enforcement might use it to determine if a residence was occupied on a certain day or whether there is “unusual” water usage that might be connected to illegal activities. If it becomes necessary to limit water usage, the meters will “report” overuse. Consumers need to fully understand, in advance, the capabilities of the system and the conditions under which information will be used, especially when there may be negative ramifications.
The ability of an unauthorized entity to hack into the system or intercept data as it is collected is a concern at both individual and system levels. Rate payers need to know that a terrorist cannot disrupt the system, that it is not possible for data to be changed as it is transmitted or stored, and that their information will not be shared.
Currently, there are no local, state or national consumer privacy standards to assure that consumer data is owned by the consumer, its use is limited to purposes consumers are aware of and agree to, or that it will be destroyed after a reasonable time. Any information gathered and stored in digital form is relatively easy to combine with other data. It could be used for things we don’t anticipate.
Concern about consumer privacy related to water usage data may seem far-fetched. However, the lack of societal agreement about consumer privacy and data security makes even water data important. Technology that makes it easy to manipulate data, unrest across the globe that leads to disruptive activities and other changes in our society mean that we need to address privacy issues that have not been of concern in the past.
Weather JournalStorm track isn't very snowy for us