Smart Meters Will Know What TV Show You’re Watching
‘Internet of Things’ could have “catastrophic consequences”
Global security futurist Marc Goodman warns that smart meters may one day be able to detect what television programs people are watching, another example of how the ‘Internet of Things’ threatens to jeopardize privacy.
Goodman, who has previously worked as an advisor to the FBI, the US Secret Service and Interpol, told Singularity Hub’s Jason Dorrier that the widespread implementation of the ‘Internet of Things’ could lead to “catastrophic consequences,” such as cars being remotely hacked and made to crash.
“Twenty years ago nobody worried about their car being hacked,” said Goodman. “Today, a typical car uses over 250 microchips that can be hacked remotely. Somebody can remotely deploy your airbag or slam on the brakes as you’re going down the highway.”
The futurist also warned that the arrival of the ‘smart home’ would lead to a cornucopia of new surveillance opportunities, echoing former CIA director David Petraeus, who hailed the “Internet of things” as a transformational boon for “clandestine tradecraft” in a 2012 Wired Magazine interview.
Smart meters, for example, are now being installed around the world. Every single device you plug into an electric socket has its own signature. When you plug in your Samsung television or Hamilton blender, the outlet knows what is being plugged into it. And from that you can derive even further intelligence.
There are startups now that are looking at the fluctuations in energy usage to deduce what pixels are highlighted on your television, and by knowing what pixels are highlighted on the TV, they can reverse engineer, based upon the electricity that you use, what television programs you’re watching.