Reducing Electromagnetic Radiation from Wireless Sources

Cell Phones, Cell Antennas, Baby Monitors, Cordless Phones, Wi-Fi and Tablets

Manmade electromagnetic radiation (EMR) has become an ever-present invisible pollutant in our lives. Often referred to as “electro-pollution,” many of us are completely unaware of the sea of man-made electromagnetic radiation around us, day and night, generated by a host of wired and wireless devices indoors, and cell towers, base stations and antennas outdoors, which provide us with instant connectivity and a great deal of convenience. For health-minded, independent environmental scientists, researchers and technical EMR professionals are promoting a move toward better awareness about the possible adverse health effects of manmade EMR, including effects on the developing fetus.1

Even for those who don’t notice any reactions or symptoms, the data are compelling enough to support efforts toward reducing exposure, particularly for those who are trying to recover from illness of any kind, and those who are pregnant or have small children.

Unfortunately, a growing population is experiencing a range of subtle to serious symptoms, which they attribute to EMR, often termed “electrical sensitivity.” These reported symptoms include headaches, nausea, exhaustion, “burning” skin, dizziness, inability to concentrate, agitation, heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, joint pain, swelling of face and neck, eye problems, and rashes. In my work as a healthy building and interiors consultant, many of my clients are reporting just such symptoms.

While it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of such symptoms, it’s important to take seriously the possible connection to EMR. Use of wireless technologies is increasing at warp speed with insufficient or no premarket assessment to determine the health risks. There have been too few independent large-scale, non- industry funded studies on people exposed to EMR. That is why professionals working on public policy change, such as Dr. Magda Havas2 and Elizabeth Kelley,3 are seeking a federally sponsored, sustained, and independent research program, with stakeholders to include concerned scientists and public advocates to oversee such a research program.

There is, however, a growing and substantial body of scientific evidence and research by independent, international scientists that associates EMR with serious health effects, much of which was compiled by the BioInitiative Report working group, in their “meta study” called Bioinitiative Report 2012.4 The research to date strongly supports the need for non-industry-funded, full-scale studies and resulting health standards for EMR from cell phones, cell antennas, Wi-Fi, and cordless phones.

In the meantime, a precautionary approach is highly recommended, using the strictest standards available as determined by the German field of Baubiologie. If you are EMR-sensitive, pregnant or have children, reducing exposure to you and your family is essential for short and long-term health.

There are no magic bullets for complete protection, despite all the marketing claims by manufacturers selling devices said to mitigate or block EMR. These marketing messages greatly mislead the public into believing they are 100 percent protected by a simple device, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The best policy is still simply “prudent avoidance,” particularly during sleeping hours, the body’s most sensitive regenerative time. If your bedroom is largely free of manmade EMR (as well as of mold and chemicals), your body will get a break at night, and will be better able to detox and regenerate. A healthy bedroom is essential, so that during the day when you may have less control over your environment, you are better able to deal with daytime exposures.

It’s important to remember that although you may not be able to control or protect yourself from all EMF radiation, there are, in fact, many simple steps you can take to limit your exposure.

CELL PHONES and SMART PHONES

Except for emergencies, children and pregnant women should avoid using cell phones. The same holds true for those who are electrically, chemically or mold sensitive, recovering or in remission from a serious illness such as cancer. Cell phone exposure is also like second hand smoke—everyone within a twenty-foot radius of your cell phone in talk/text mode, and a ten-to-fifteen foot radius5 in smart phone standby mode is exposed to very high levels of EMR (including babies and children). Ideally, everyone’s health would benefit from as little cell phone use as possible.

Here are some steps you can take to measurably reduce your exposure, your children’s and others around you:

• Use an old-fashioned cell phone, called a “basic phone”. Basic phones are often referred to as “flip phones.” A basic phone has a simple numerical keypad, and cannot accommodate any applications such as Facebook and Skype. Basic phones still have their dangers, but in standby mode they emit substantially less radio frequency (RF) EMR than smart phones. Remember that EMR levels are high when you are talking on a basic phone, but in standby mode the levels are very low, unlike smart phones, which remain at high levels all the time.

• During sleeping hours, and as often as possible during the day, put your smart phone in “airplane mode.” This will substantially reduce EMR almost completely. Your smart phone alarm will still work in airplane mode. The EMR from smart phones and tablets in airplane mode is very low and considered safe according to Baubiologie standards, but if possible, turning devices completely off, especially during sleep, is even better.

• For talking on all basic and smart cell phones, purchase an “air tube headset” (also called “blue tube headset”) and “ferrite bead.” Attach the ferrite bead to the cable just before it plugs into the phone. The air tube interrupts the frequency from continuing up to your head, but not the audio. The ferrite bead is a filter that reduces the radiation on the wire next to your body. While talking on the phone with the headset and ferrite filter, place the phone away from your hands or body. This combination of solutions reduces only the highest power intensity levels of EMR from basic and smart cell phones while talking. But they do not eliminate the approximate twenty-foot radius of remaining high EMR. So in other words, while you’re talking, you and others around you are still exposed to somewhat lower but nevertheless high, unhealthy levels of EMR.

• An alternative to the blue tube headset and ferrite filter solution is to talk on speaker mode, and keep the cell phone away from your hands and body.

• Limit conversations as much as possible, as there is no protection that is adequate enough.

• If you tend to text instead of talk, keep in mind that your hands and body are still exposed to highest levels of radiation closest to the phone, and EMR while texting is just as high as when talking.

• Limit cell phone use while driving, too. When you are driving, the phone goes to maximum power to connect with base stations and in order for the signals to pass through the car, especially if the signal must reach the antenna on your cell phone. If your car has a built-in antenna on the outside of the car and a hands-free option with speaker, however, the EMR inside the car will be lower while you’re talking, because the phone does not have to use as much power to keep a steady signal. If there is no built-in antenna on the outside of the car, EMR may be substantially higher inside the car, in both standby and talking mode, than when you’re talking outside of a car.

CELL TOWERS, CELLULAR ANTENNA BASE STATIONS AND OTHER WIRELESS FACILITIES

• If possible, and in general, choose to live at least a quarter mile from a cell tower or antenna. Depending on your sensitivity, you may need a distance of one mile or more. To locate the closest cell towers and antennas near you, go to antennasearch.com. Check this web site periodically for new towers being built. Putting enough distance between your home and a cell tower or antenna will be more difficult in a city, but do your best to put yourself at least a quarter mile away.

• If you are highly EMR-sensitive or have no option but to live very close to cell antennas, consult with a qualified EMR consultant on possible shielding. In some situations, covering your windows with special shielding fabric or films may be adequate, depending on your sensitivity level, as well as proximity and directionality of the cell antenna. (See LessEMF.com for shielding fabrics and window film options, but keep in mind, DYI solutions without professional pre- and post-testing may not result in enough measurable exposure reduction.) Unfortunately, in many cases, it is quite difficult to shield adequately or affordably.

CORDLESS PHONES AND LANDLINES

• Don’t get rid of your landline! The best protection from RF EMR from cell phones is to forward your cell phone to your landline, turn off your cell, and talk on corded phones while at home.

• Do not install or use cordless phones that are labeled as “DECT” or “Gigahertz.” Like smart phones, these put out a digital pulsed microwave frequency, and they emit and pollute your home continuously whether you’re talking or not. They should be completely removed from the home. The safest option is wired phones. If you must talk on a cordless phone, purchase a 900-megahertz model and limit your conversations.

BABY MONITORS

• Eliminate baby monitors labeled DECT or Gigahertz. If you must use a wireless baby monitor, purchase a 900-megahertz model. But even older style 900-megahertz models emit some radio frequency EMR. The safest solution for your baby is to avoid all wireless monitors. Instead, find an old-fashioned wired type on Ebay or at a garage sale, or wire up a webcam to a computer that is on a wired, Ethernet (not wireless) connection. Before the invention of baby monitors, parents stayed within close hearing range of sleeping babies.

IPADS AND OTHER TABLETS

IPads and other tablets are like smart phones—they are always emitting EMR and the extensive radius of high levels of EMR exposes children and adults around you.

If you do use an iPad or other tablet device, here are steps you can take to reduce exposure:
• Turn off tablets during sleeping hours.

• Keep the tablet off or in airplane mode until you need to use it. Otherwise, like smart phones, all tablets in standby mode emit very high levels of EMR within a radius of ten to fifteen feet.

• Turn off your tablet while at home, and use your Ethernet wired computer instead. If you must use your tablet at home, limit use and turn it off when you’re not using it.

• When using a tablet while you’re away from home, purchase a monthly cell connection so you don’t need Wi-Fi to use it. This way, you can use a “basic phone” instead of a smart phone, which eliminates the high levels of smart phone EMR in standby mode while you’re waiting to receive calls. And you can still get Internet access, email and even text with your tablet. But remember, keep the tablet off or in airplane mode when you’re not using it. WI-FI

• For best protection, especially if you are EMR-sensitive, eliminate Wi-Fi completely, and instead, hardwire your computer connections with Ethernet cable. The types called Cat 5 and Cat 6 are best because they are shielded.

• Disconnect your wireless router during sleeping hours or put it on a timer.

• Unfortunately, unless you convert over to wired Ethernet connections in your home, you cannot avoid exposure to high levels of radio frequency EMFs from Wi-Fi, anywhere in the home you can connect to the Internet. However, in general, for the average person who is not electrically sensitive, if the signal on your computer is too weak to connect at all to the Internet then the Wi-Fi levels may be low enough to be safe, according to Baubiologie recommendations. However, for the electrically sensitive, even very low levels of Wi-Fi may cause electrical sensitivity symptoms.

• Make sure the router is placed as far from your body as possible in your home or office (at least six to ten feet), including your desk, or anywhere else in the home or office that you or your family spend time.

• If you use your laptop or desktop computer on Wi-Fi, not only is the router a radiating source but so is your computer. This is why it is essential that you turn off the router and your computer completely during sleep hours.

• For the highly EMR-sensitive, using a laptop on battery with Wi-Fi turned off may be better tolerated.

• If you are highly EMR-sensitive and/or you live in a condo, townhouse or apartment with connecting walls to other units, it is quite difficult to shield adequately and/or affordably. Our team has worked with clients on effective shielding, but if it’s feasible, it is generally expensive to implement successfully. Do-it-yourself shielding on walls, ceilings and floors should be done with great caution, because without expert remediation design guidance as well as pre- and post- testing by an EMR professional, it’s possible to create “reflection” inside a shielded room, and other unanticipated unsafe consequences.

CLEANING UP OTHER TYPES OF EMR

This article focuses primarily on wireless sources of radio frequency EMR. But there are several other types of EMR to reduce or eliminate, including dirty electricity from smart meters and fluorescent lighting, AC magnetic and AC electric fields from power lines, household wiring, appliances, and office equipment, and even DC magnetic fields from inner springs inside of mattresses. Not everyone is highly sensitive to these types of EMR, but if you are sensitive, or you simply want to reduce your own and your family’s exposure to safe levels, here are some general, simple steps to follow. (Note: If you own a gauss meter, remember that only some professional quality digital meters are designed to measure both AC magnetic and AC electric fields. Otherwise, a gauss meter can only be used to measure AC magnetic fields, and no other types of EMR including RF, no matter what the manufacturer claims. Becoming proficient and accurate at testing EMR of all types requires much training, experience and professional quality testing equipment.)

SMART METERS

• Smart meters emit EMR and should be avoided if possible. If your home or building still has the old-style analog electrical, gas or water meter, take proactive steps to opt out of eventual smart meter installations by your local utility. In some locales, it may be possible to get the local utility to remove the smart meter and replace it with an analog meter. Go to http://stopsmartmeters.org and contact the smart meter activist group nearest to you for instructions and resources. Those who opt out for an analog meter will pay a monthly fee that is added to their electric, gas or water bill. But that is preferable to the potential for high exposure to EMR. Some people have found that when they switch back to an analog meter, their monthly bills decreased, which made up for the added monthly fee.

• Although it is not yet possible to shield a home interior from smart meter emissions completely, special filters can be installed, but they are expensive, and not yet fully developed for complete protection. As of the writing of this article, there are no legal ways to shield emissions from smart meters completely, and do-it-yourself methods of shielding may create unexpected and unsafe consequences. It’s best to work with a qualified EMR professional who can test before and after for safest results.

• If a smart meter is on a bedroom wall, move to another room for sleeping.

SMART APPLIANCES

• Many new appliances, such as dishwashers, central forced air heating and AC units, and washing machines are now made to communicate with smart meters via a chip installed in the appliance. Ask the retailer for non-smart appliances only, especially if you are EMR-sensitive.

• Eventually small appliances, such as lamps will also be “smart.” Keep your eye out for these changes and ask before purchasing.

ELIMINATE ALL TYPES OF BEDROOM EMR

When taking steps to reduce EMR exposure, clean up the bedroom first. In general, it is beneficial to unplug as much as possible in the bedroom, including all extension cords, and use a battery operated clock on your nightstand. If the main electrical panel or sub panel for your home is on a bedroom wall, sleep in another room, or at a minimum move the bed to another wall. Eliminate electric blankets and opt instead for certified organic wool comforters and toppers, which insulate the body.

It’s best to replace dimmer switches with regular on/off switches. But at a minimum, be sure to shut off dimmer switches completely during sleep hours using the switch, rather than just turning them down to black. Replace rheostat dimmers with the type that have an on/off switch as well as a slider.

If you can tolerate natural latex, replace your inner spring mattress and box spring with an organic mattress made with natural latex and certified organic wool batting, or a mattress filled with only certified organic wool batting or certified organic felted wool. Scientists have not yet conducted large-scale studies regarding health effects of metal in bedsprings and bedframes. However, preliminary research suggests there are at least three problems concerning metal in beds: 1) metal can concentrate and radiate a variety of EMR from other sources (the EMFs that have been studied extensively), 2) metal can become permanently magnetized, and 3) metal disrupts our orientation to magnetic north.

If you are EMR-sensitive, you might also experiment with turning off the breakers in your electrical service panel during sleeping hours (except for the breaker that provides electricity to your refrigerator). Try this for a week or two, to see if it makes a difference in your sleep and health.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON SAFETY:

When you open the cover to the electrical service panel, if you see any exposed wires, do not touch anything inside the panel, close the cover immediately, and immediately hire a licensed electrician to make your service panel safe. If there are no exposed wires inside the service panel, don’t stand in front of the panel when turning breakers off and on.

REDUCE OTHER DAYTIME EMR

For daytime EMR reduction, eliminate compact and fluorescent bulbs from the home. Replace fluorescent bulbs with good quality LED bulbs. Many LED bulbs, like CFLs, emit dirty electricity EMR, but you can reduce that likelihood by looking at the detailed specifications on line for specific LED bulbs, and find the bulbs with these specifications: Lowest THD (total harmonic distortion) as close as possible to three percent, which is hospital grade, with a power factor as close to one as possible. These specifications are often not listed on the package.

Keep office ceiling fluorescent lighting turned off during work hours if possible, and use plug-in lamps instead.

Locate all power-strips, plugs with attached transformers, and low voltage lamps at least three feet from your body, including your legs and feet. Move wires and cables away from the body and feet. Use a wired external keyboard for your computer so your hands are not over the hard drive on your laptop, and sit an arm’s length from your computer screen.

If possible, replace dimmer switches with regular light switches to reduce dirty electricity sources of EMR from dimmer switches and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

HIRE AN EMF PROFESSIONAL

Hire an experienced certified Baubiologist, Building Biologist or other EMF specialized, trained inspector nearest you for a thorough EMR investigation of your house. You will want someone with at least several years of experience and professional quality digital meters, and who has connections to electricians who can troubleshoot wiring errors and code violations, the source of most AC magnetic fields.


SIDEBAR

RESOURCES
• Baubiologie Inspectors in Europe and other countries: http://www.baubiologie.de/international/institute/
• Building Biology Inspectors in the U.S. and Canada: http://hbelc.org/
• The Building Biology Survey according to the STANDARD OF BUILDING BIOLOGY TESTING METHODS SBM-
2008 http://www.baubiologie.de/downloads/english/standard_2008_englisch.pdf
• Supplement to the Standard of Building Biology Testing Methods SBM-2008. BUILDING BIOLOGY EVALUATION GUIDELINES FOR SLEEPING AREAS. http://www.baubiologie.de/downloads/building-biology-guidelines-english.pdf
• CloutNow: Coalition for Local Oversight of Utility Technologies: http://cloutnow.org/. CLOUTNOW is a grass-roots coalition of individuals and organizations committed to restoring local governmental control over telecommunications towers and related wireless facilities in the United States.
• The Collaborative for Health and Environment: http://www.healthandenvironment.org/ The Collaborative on
Health and the Environment’s (CHE’s) primary mission is to strengthen the science dialogue on environmental
factors affecting human health and to facilitate collaborative, multifactorial, prevention-oriented efforts to address environmental health concerns.
• The EMF Safety Network: http://emfsafetynetwork.org The EMF Safety Network is dedicated to helping people reduce electrical pollution to improve their health and vitality, and to inspire action to protect children, communities and nature. EMF Safety Network provides quality resources about the risks of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and radio frequency radiation (RF), emitted by everyday devices in our homes and communities, and resources for those who suffer from electrical sensitivity.
• Stop Smart Meters! http://stopsmartmeters.org Growing out of the grassroots group Scotts Valley Neighbors Against Smart Meters, which was started in June 2010, Stop Smart Meters! has now evolved into an advocacy, media outreach, and direct action network providing activism consultation and advice to dozens of local groups sprouting up who are fighting the wireless “smart” meter assault. Stop Smart Meters! provides the facts on smart meters and shielding. http://stopsmartmeters.org/frequently-asked-questions/faq-shielding-and-measurement-issues/
• EM Radiation Research Trust: http://www.radiationresearch.org. Based in the U.K, the EM Radiation Research
Trust is an advocacy group that provides the facts about EMFs to the public and the media.
• Elizabeth Kelley, director, Electromagnetic Safety Alliance, Inc. http://vimeo.com/17251471. How to Protect Yourself from EMFs (Electromagnetic Frequencies) : Renegade Health Interviews Mary Cordaro on Radio Show, Part I: http://marycordaro.com/blog/?p=228. Do EMF Protection Devices Really Work? Renegade Health Interviews Mary Cordaro on Radio Show, Part 2: http://marycordaro.com/blog/?p=232.
• Katie Singer, An Electric Silent Spring: Facing the Dangers and Creating Safe Limits (MA, Porter Books, An Imprint of SteinerBooks, Anthroposophic Press).

REFERENCES

1. Fetal Radiofrequency Radiation Exposure From 800-1900 Mhz-Rated Cellular Telephones Affects Neurodevelopment and Behavior in Mice Scientific Reports 2 : 312 | DOI: 10.1038/srep0031 . Fetal and Neonatal Effects of EMF: Dr. Iole Pinto, PhD Director, Physical Agents Laboratory Tuscany Health and Safety Service, Siena, Italy

2. Magda Havas, Phd, Associate Professor of Environmental & Resource Studies at Trent University: http://www.magdahavas.com/

3. Elizabeth Kelley, MA DirectorElectromagnetic Safety Alliance, Inc.

4. Bioinitiative 2012 http://www.bioinitiative.org/

5. Cell Phones – Smart Phones – iPhones and RF Exposure during Stand- By Mode: Dietrich Moldan and Dietrich Ruoff 7th EMF conference VDB, 12. – 13. April 2013, Munich, Germany presented by Dr. Thomas Haumann.

source: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/reducing-electromagnetic-radiation-from-wireless-sources/#comment-221578

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FTC report spotlights privacy risks smart devices pose for consumers: Plain Dealing

You and your smartphone, smart energy meter or smart TV are at ground zero in the battle between cool and creepy.

Smart meters may let people better monitor their energy use, but researchers in Germany described how they were able to capture enough unencrypted data from smart meters to determine what TV shows people were watching.

Closer to home, security experts told the Federal Trade Commission they can hack into smart insulin pumps to change patients’ dosage and remotely access smart car braking systems.

In a new report released Tuesday, the FTC spelled out the risks smart devices pose to users and renewed its call for Congress to enact stronger laws to protect consumers and the devices they use.

The commission also urged the industry to adhere to best practices to secure smart devices and the data they collect.

The FTC noted that although smart devices can provide benefits to consumers, they also collect an extraordinary amount of sensitive data about people and their habits. In a previous report on data brokers, the FTC noted that this kind of data can be compiled from multiple sources and used to create detailed dossiers about people without their knowledge and consent.

Rather than targeting legislation to the Internet of Things —  smart devices and sensors that connect people to the Internet —  the commission called for Congress to create “strong, flexible, and technology-neutral federal legislation” that would scoop up a wide range of industries that collect or analyze data about consumers.

President Obama called earlier this month for Congress to work with him on legislation that will give consumers more control over how – or whether – data collected about them is used. The commission’s report, the result of its exploration of the impact the Internet of Things could have on consumers, is likely to help guide Congress as it picks up a number of privacy and data breach proposals.

The commission also released best practices it recommends that industries voluntarily adopt. Those include quicker notice to consumers about breaches, building security into devices at the design stage and electing to capture and store less data about consumers.

The FTC worried in this and past reports that companies may collect personal information that customers don’t expect and use it in ways they never agreed to. For example, the commission said, an insurer or lender might use health data to decide whether to do business with a consumer.

The FTC notes there are 25 billion connected devices in use worldwide – a number that’s expected to double in the next five years.

Source: http://www.cleveland.com/consumeraffairs/index.ssf/2015/01/ftc_report_spotlights_privacy.html

Children susceptible to Wi-fi radiation

A CONTROVERSIAL study has called for parents to try and limit their offsprings’ exposure to Wi-fi over fears it could harm their health.

The report, published in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultra-structure, claims children absorb more radiation from a source than adults.

It warns foetuses are the most vulnerable of all, and researchers say mothers should not carry mobile phones in their clothing. A paediatric neurologist said that pregnant women deserve to know that wireless radiation can have an impact on the developing brain: “We’re seeing alarming increases in the number of children diagnosed with neuro-logical disorders over the past decade, and anything we can do that might help reduce that rate should be taken very seriously.”

Wi-fi signals use low intensity radio waves, similar in wavelength to domestic microwave radiation. The type of radiation emitted by radio waves (Wi-fi), visible light, microwaves and mobile phones has been shown to raise the temperature of tissue at very high levels of exposure and researchers are divided as to whether this daily radiation can cause damage.

Source: https://www.euroweeklynews.com/lifestyle/item/125416-children-susceptible-to-wi-fi-radiation

How Dangerous and Expensive Became “Smart” An Exposé of the “Smart Grid”

Electric “smart” meters were installed in Cindy deBac’s Scottsdale, Arizona, neighborhood in 2012. She recalls the day a new meter was mounted on her home as a sort of digital Pearl Harbor attack. “I’ve never been so sick in my life,” she says. “Nausea, a crushing migraine headache, and painful heart palpitations laid me low right away.”

Healthy and exuberant before the installation, deBac became unable to sleep normally. She soon became exhausted and tearfully anxious as she struggled with rashes and a chronically racing heart. For respite she spent nights away in her car. One of her dogs died of cancer within six months of the meter’s installation and the other developed large tumors. Today Cindy leads a global educational crusade to warn others about the myriad devastating health effects that electromagnetic radiation can unleash.

Across the U.S. installers continue to replace comparatively safe analog (mechanical) utility meters with digital “smart” meters for electrical, gas and water services. Most of the new meters are wireless two-way transmitters that pulse signals to communicate continuously between your home, school, or workplace and utility companies miles away. The new meters are part of a nationwide project dubbed Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). Most folks call this evolving make-over the “smart grid.”

The AMI “smart” meter below records electrical consumption data and sends the information wirelessly to energy system managers. “Smart” meters can be programmed to read and transmit data monthly, or up to every fifteen seconds. Data may be relayed by systems similar to mobile phones or Wi-Fi. Or information may be relayed via fiber optics (thin, transparent cables that carry signals by pulsing light). Of these methods, fiber optics may offer the safest transmission.

AMI is nested within the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009, and the Obama Administration has shoveled an estimated eleven billion dollars into incentive programs for utilities that participate. “Smart” grid advocates insist that the new two-way meters will reduce national energy consumption and allow consumers to make better choices about their energy needs.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are among federal heavyweights behind the thundering AMI rollout. Several universities and corporations stand to profit hugely by providing AMI equipment, software and expertise. These include General Electric, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Siemens, Toshiba, Microsoft, Cisco, Verizon, Google, Itron and Tantalus.

With a financial and political engine of this magnitude, the AMI meter replacement project has moved at lightning speed. According to the Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE), nearly 40 percent of U.S. households had an electric “smart” meter installed by August 2013. A total of sixty-five million “smart” meters are projected to be installed by 2015, covering more than half of all U.S. households.1 Among states hit hardest so far have been Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Vermont, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

PRELIMINARY REPORTS ON “SMART” METERS

Over the last three years, strong-arm installation tactics, fires caused by meters, skyrocketing utility bills, privacy concerns and disabling health effects have given momentum to a broad coalition of “smart” grid opponents. Many, including some government officials, say that the touted benefits of “smart” systems have not materialized, while the negative ramifications have proven disastrous.

Win2014Smart1 AMI “SMART” METER

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has proposed a moratorium on “smart” meters as an “issue of the highest importance.” This international association of physicians and public health experts warns that it is unacceptable to implement radiation-emitting technology before serious medical and environmental concerns have been properly addressed.2

AMI is calibrated to expose all Americans to three new and powerful sources of microwave radiation: “smart” meters, “smart” appliances, and a ubiquitous network of antennas on utility poles and cell towers in urban and rural neighborhoods. Neither the federal government nor grid profiteers have undertaken a single public health study about the long-term health effects of exposure to electromagnetic radition (EMR) from “smart” meters. Yet medical literature is now loaded with peer-reviewed studies about the non-thermal biological effects of exposure to EMR. Peer-reviewed studies report DNA damage, abnormal genetic and hormonal changes, sperm damage, pregnancy complications, weakening of the blood-brain barrier, disturbance of voltage-gated calcium channels (for example, in the heart), degradation of immunity, and certain types of cancers.3

Especially worrisome, says AAEM, is mounting evidence that inescapable electromagnetic fields exposure from smart meters places children at particular risk for altered brain development and for impaired learning and behavior. These concerns are corroborated by the blockbuster BioInitiative Report 2012. Produced by twenty-nine medical and public health experts from ten countries, the BioInitiative Report offers a meta-analysis of over eighteen hundred new scientific studies showing that chronic exposure to both ELF and microwaves poses a serious health hazard. At highest risk are the most vulnerable of our population: children, pregnant mothers, the elderly and the immunecompromised.4

Health ramifications aside, AMI technology is good for the corporate bottom line. “Smart” meters eliminate the need for human meter readers. They allow utilities to turn services on and off remotely. The meters identify consumption of a product and automatically send those data to headquarters for monitoring and billing. They allow water utility companies to monitor and control consumer usage closely. Because electricity is delivered most efficiently in an even, steady flow, “smart” grid enthusiasts aim to encourage residential customers to use less electricity during daytime working hours and more during evenings and weekends. Eventually, customers may be charged by time-of-use. “Smart” grid promoters claim that by 2030, the system will reduce nationwide electricity usage by about four percent.5

But at what price? The cost of the “smart” meter program is breathtaking. By some estimates, utility consumers will pay at least two hundred twenty-five billion dollars to blanket the nation with AMI meters. A “smart” electric meter can cost hundreds of dollars per household. The attorney general of Massachusetts projected the cost of each meter in that state at almost three thousand dollars.6 Some AMI equipment manufacturers suggest that meters may need to be replaced as often as every three years to keep up with technical innovations.7 This would force consumers to continually pay for new hardware that they are coerced to accept. Critics say that when time-of-use pricing goes into effect, utility bills could become insurmountable for many customers (unless they learn to direct their peak energy usage to the middle of the night).

CANARIES ON THE WEST COAST

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) of California was among the first U.S. utilities to deploy AMI meters. Its 2010-2012 “smart” meter rollout caused a state-wide furor. Some older “smart” meter systems (AMR) send their data through existing utility lines. A few newer AMI systems communicate through fiber optics. But like many other utility companies, PG&E has deployed a mesh networking system, which broadcasts pulsed radio frequency signals (microwaves) into homes and across outdoor spaces. PG&E’s “smart” grid emits EMR from the meters and from a state-wide support network including:

• Thousands of new utility antenna communications towers and relay/repeater poles;

• Thousands of new mobile data base stations with fixed and mobile radios for utility workers;

• Thousands of crossband repeater stations, each broadcasting radiation in the 900 megahertz range;

• Thousands of broadband access points emitting the license-exempt Wi-Fi frequency bands of 2.45, 3.65, and 5.8 gigahertz;

• Thousands of point-to-point microwave links providing backhaul for the system;

• Thousands of integrated service routers handling security and network management through wireless signals.8

The new smart grid signal infrastructure is a duplication of the massive cellular communications build-out which, over the last thirty years, has spawned over three hundred thousand microwave towers and rooftop antenna arrays from coast to coast. There are at least a dozen published epidemiological studies reporting that populations living within five hundred meters of cellular microwave antennas suffer high rates of adverse health effects including headaches, skin rashes, vision/hearing problems, dizziness, sleep disturbances, hormonal abnormalities and chronic fatigue. There are also many reports of cancer clusters among people living near cell towers or in buildings directly under them.9

The “smart” grid network inflicts an incalculable increase in hazardous EMR at a time when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has designated all RF/microwave electromagnetic frequencies as a Group 2B carcinogen (possibly cancer-causing).10

CANARY SICKNESS AND MEDIA FALLOUT

A group of concerned medical doctors in Eugene, Oregon, reports: “PG&E’s approach to the AMI rollout didn’t involve a lot of public education. They just switched out the meters. And some people found that they were having trouble sleeping, or experiencing headaches, ringing in the ears, vertigo or other symptoms that hadn’t been bothering them before. Soon the Internet was awash with anecdotal reports and commentary about these adverse effects. . . Finally PG&E was served with a court order to provide clearer documentation of what the meters were actually doing. In response to that court order, PG&E provided documentation from the manufacturer of the meters that the average meter in the mesh network transmitted data signals to the utility six times a day, network management signals fifteen times a day, timing signals three hundred sixty times a day and beacon signals to the mesh network nine thousand six hundred times a day….This penciled out to roughly seven transmissions per minute, twenty-four hours a day, coming out of every meter in the community.”11

Win2014Smart2  Win2014Smart3
Left: An EMR-emitting device attached to a telephone pole. Right: A cell tower.

Since microwaves easily flow through most construction materials, “smart” meters attached to the outside of homes (or huge banks of them on multi-unit dwellings) broadcast a perpetual barrage of Group 2B radiation directly into the interior of inhabited buildings and right through all human flesh within range.

In addition, some residents within AMI mesh networks may also have “Medusa” meters on their property. One investigator reports: “A utility whistle blower told us about a special smart meter—a mini cell phone tower. This collection device receives data and more radiation from five hundred to seven hundred surrounding meters and uses the customer’s premises to serve as a relay station to transmit other neighbors’ data along the mesh network to collection points. These Medusa meters are deployed upon properties without the owner’s knowledge or consent. The utilities select a property for this meter based upon easy meter access to the street, no locked gates or dogs and good customer payment history. . . Utilities reward good customers with a Medusa meter and bathe their homes with additional toxic radiation.”12

By early 2011, the California Public Utilities Commission had received over two thousand health complaints from PG&E customers and the complaints escalated from there. By the end of 2011, multiple California cities had either banned smart meters or had placed a moratorium on continued installation. Currently, many California communities are still in AMI limbo, while communities in other states also struggle to find their way.

THE PROBLEMS WITH EXPOSURE TO MAN-MADE EMR

“Smart” meters are “hot,” in terms of broadcast power density, and can emit microwaves at levels many times higher than those reported by medical studies to cause serious adverse health effects. Film producer Josh del Sol reported in his documentary Take Back Your Power that testing shows a single “smart” meter can produce eight microwatts per centimeter squared (cm2). A bank of smart meters can generate up to 19.8 microwatts/cm2 of whole-body radiation exposure. Meantime, modern medical science confirms that a microwave transmission power of only .05 microwatts/cm2 can cause children to suffer headaches, behavioral problems and inability to learn and concentrate.13

In a study conducted by chiropractic physician Dr. Frank Springob, “smart” meter radiation exposure quickly produced almost instant blood abnormalities in human test subjects.14 Volunteers had their blood examined as normal, then stood within one foot of a transmitting “smart” meter for only two minutes. A post-exposure examination with dark field microscopy showed that all volunteers had developed one of these blood pathologies:

• Marked degradation of cells with some cell walls broken;

• Corrugated formation in which blood cells become crimped like bottle caps;

• A rouleaux condition in which the red blood cells clump abnormally together. Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD, who practices medicine in Washington State, says, “It is our experience as doctors that everybody is equally electro-sensitive.” Dr. Klinghardt finds the same inflammatory markers in the blood of every EMR-exposed person, both those who feel bad from exposure and those who notice no preliminary ill effects.15

“Smart” grid proponents routinely insist that the meters emit RF radiation at levels far below maximum exposure standards set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). FCC is the federal agency with sole authority to regulate wireless antennas. But environmental consultant Cindy Sage, co-editor of the BioInitiative Report, has determined that the emissions from “smart” meters installed across California likely exceed FCC’s guidelines.16

Meanwhile, BioInitiative Report scientists recommend that the FCC reduce allowable emissions by thousands-fold in order to protect public health. Cindy Sage explains that EMR emitted by “smart” meters reaching the interior of a home can be comparable to radiation levels found within two hundred to six hundred feet of a cell tower. She warns: “If you think of a strobe light or a laser in the eyes, it is intermittent but powerfully disabling if you are forced to endure it. [“Smart” meter] signals may be short bursts of RF (this depends on the meter and how utilities choose to operate) but… it is a continual 24/7 battering of the body with cellular insults.”17

THE PAY-US-NOT-TO-HURT-YOU RACKET

Due to public uproar, some utility companies unleashing “smart” meter systems are offering opt-out programs. Opt-out often requires those who refuse “smart” meters to pay one or more fees for the right to keep their older and safer analog meters. Some complain that the fees are reminiscent of extortion from old-time protection thugs.

Requesting an opt-out is definitely a first step to protecting one’s own home from harmful, microwave emissions. But it does not address exposure to EMR from neighboring meters, or from mesh pole transmitters on the grid. EMR from some meters can be measured over three hundred feet away. A single-family home in a residential community can be well within three hundred feet of several near and next-nearest neighbors. Thus, even at the distance of a football field, EMR from many surrounding meters could prove biologically significant, even for those who retain their analog meters. Residents of townhouses, condos and apartment buildings may be especially vulnerable when ten or twenty meters or more are installed on one wall.

Also, an opt-out does not resolve the hazards of dirty electricity polluting a neighborhood loaded with AMI meters. Nor does it protect people who don’t have enough information to request an opt-out, but who may one day develop illnesses from EMR exposure.

Living in rural areas does not solve the problem. Some rural utilities serving mountainous and/or forested areas may choose to deploy AMI metering solutions like those provided by Tantalus Systems Corp. Tantalus creates hybrid “smart” antenna systems, utilizing a variety of frequency signals that can travel through and around obstacles in their quest to “connect.”18 As with other frequency fields deployed by AMI, no studies of the biological effects of such public exposure have been conducted.

Win2014Smart4

BIG BROTHER IN THE CLOTHES DRYER

The smart meter roll-out is only the first phase of a federal master plan that will deeply penetrate American homes with smart radiation. Some appliance manufacturers are now gearing up to market antenna-embedded appliances capable of linking to the “smart” grid through the Internet. Such appliances can transmit and receive data to and from utilities. Such appliances make people vulnerable to hackers.19

Most upcoming smart appliances will be using the Wi-Fi frequencies of 2.4 or 5 GHz. They will create a wireless home access network (HAN) similar to residential Wi-Fi systems. Smart appliance HANs will broadcast microwave radiation 100 percent of the time. Within a typical house full of radiating appliances, there will be no location out of broadcast range. It is anticipated that smart appliance turn-off will be available only at the circuit breaker.

The EMF Safety Network says: “Smart meters are a surveillance device. They are a search without a warrant. They collect detailed energy usage, for instance when you cook, watch TV, whether you are at home or not, when you turn on a light or when you have guests. This data is valuable because it can reveal patterns about what you do and when. California utility companies admitted they are providing smart meter data to the government and third parties.”20

Those with access to “smart” meter and “smart” appliance data, including government officials, law enforcement agents, and professional hackers/thieves, can review a permanent history of household activities, then complete a calendar with time-of-day metrics to gain a highly invasive and detailed view of occupants’ lives. Because smart meters can individually identify electrical devices, personal information made obvious to snoopers can include medical conditions, sexual activities, the physical location of persons within the house, and vacancy patterns.

Even the new digitized “smart” water meters can transmit surveillance information. Describing such meters installed in Minnesota, one report notes: “If you stop using water for the night at 10 p.m. the city will know because they will get signals during the night of no water usage. If the city gets a signal at 2 a.m. for 1.5 gallons, the city knows you just flushed your toilet.” For the privilege of involuntarily supplying such data to nameless overseers, the owner of the toilet must endure invasive and continuous exposure to electromagnetic radiation.21

A SYSTEM SMACKING OF HACKING

There is a smart grid initiative in almost every industrialized nation. The fact that AMI has been deployed worldwide makes the entire “smart” power grid especially vulnerable to cyber attacks. As AMI progresses, the vulnerability of the Internet is being transferred to entire national grids.

In January 2014, two large utility companies in Massachusetts, known collectively as Northeast Utilities, informed their state Department of Public Utilities that there is no cost justification for implementing a one billion dollar AMI system statewide. They said: “Many customers have a deep aversion to technology that links them to the grid in a way that they perceive as an invasion of their privacy and/or detrimental to their health.” Northeast Utilities also complained: “AMI introduces a brand new portal into the companies’ information systems, significantly increasing the cyber-security risk.”22

Former CIA director James Woolsey agrees. He said in an interview: “They’re constructing what they call a ‘Smart Grid.’ And they’re going to make it easier for you and me to call our homes on our cell phones and turn down our air conditioning. . . Great, but that may well mean that a hacker in Shanghai with his cell phone could do the same thing or worse. And a so-called Smart Grid that is as vulnerable as we’ve got—it’s not smart at all, it’s a really, really stupid grid.”23

Individual “smart” meters themselves are vulnerable to hacking because the meters can easily be removed and re-programmed, or hacked into wirelessly from laptops. The Associated Press reports: “Computer security researchers say new smart meters that are designed to help deliver electricity more efficiently also have flaws that could let hackers tamper with the power grid in previously impossible ways. At the very least, the vulnerabilities open the door for attackers to jack up a stranger’s utility bills. These flaws could also move hackers a key step closer to exploiting one of the most dangerous capabilities of the new technology which is the ability to remotely turn someone else’s power on and off.”24

That scenario is grim enough. But since smart technology may open the door to malicious hacking and cyber-attacks on a national scale, it becomes a critical issue of national security. Woolsey has disclosed that virtually no agency in the federal government has ultimate responsibility for survivability and protection of the U.S. electrical grid as a whole. He says that if a foreign power ever attacks the grid, through either a physical attack or cyber-terrorism, times will be tough: “. . . When it goes down, we are not in the 1970s pre-web, we’re in the 1870s pre-grid, and we don’t have enough plow horses or pump handles.”25

ALTERNATIVE GREEN ENERGY SYSTEMS SUPPRESSED?

The documentary film Take Back Your Power introduces evidence that the vested interests coercing the AMI systems upon our nation are the very same forces which are suppressing cleaner and more sustainable energy technologies.

One path to the suppression of competitive technologies is apparently through the U.S. Patent Office. The Commissioner of Patents can order inventions and technologies to be kept secret indefinitely. At his discretion, he can deny any patent or withhold the publication of any patent application. By the end of fiscal year 2011, there were over five thousand Patent Office secrecy orders in effect, according to the Federation of American Scientists.26 It is believed by some scholars that among these many submerged patents are several clean and viable energy technologies which are perceived as a threat by the powerful oil, gas and fracking networks.

Germany is said to be producing almost 50 percent of its energy from solar photovoltaic panels. A large amount of this solar energy is produced by individuals and small businesses who feed their excess energy back into the grid. The German system is reported to be generating clean energy equivalent to that generated by twenty nuclear power stations operating at full capacity. Advanced solar technology has allowed Germany to announce that it may abandon dangerous nuclear energy, a welcome development following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown.27

Mounting evidence demonstrates that “smart” meter systems will not significantly curtail U.S. electricity use. Several pilot programs across the nation have shown little or no energy reduction or savings. In 2011, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepson announced that “smart” meter pilot results showed no beneficial impact on total energy usage in his state. He said that the benefits of advanced meters would not merit the five hundred million dollar cost of their implementation.28

Ironically, the “smart” meters themselves use considerable energy in order to perpetually signal the mesh system. In addition, millions of “smart” appliances will be always “on” and always communicating with meters, thereby causing more use.

A report in Consumer’s Digest muses: “What’s discouraging about the all-but-mandatory dynamics of the smart-meter transition is that it’s appealing only if you are willing to pay a lot of money to save a little electricity…. If the success of the smart meter transition is based on consumers saving money and energy in the long run, we can’t help but imagine that it could take decades for that to happen—if it ever does.”29

REFLECTIONS ON OUR PRIORITIES

The formidable challenges presented by AMI smart technology lead back to the dilemma of national priorities. How much money and wellbeing should we sacrifice to achieve a tiny reduction in national energy consumption fifteen years from now?

Media sources continually report on many people suffering from electro-hypersensitivity (EHS) who have fled their smart-metered homes in desperate search of habitation that does not cause heart palpitations, rashes, severe tinnitus and/neurological disabilities. Electro-sensitivity appears to be a sort of auto-immune condition developed by a growing number of victims, usually after acute exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

Sandi Aders of Idaho has been debilitated since a “smart” meter was installed on her home. Unaware of any hazard, she and her husband used a bedroom where a transmitting digital meter was mounted on an outside wall directly opposite their bed. Day by day after the meter’s installation they grew sicker and more exhausted. They tried to cope with rashes and odd nerve disorders. Simultaneously they developed the symptoms of glaucoma. They finally hit the road to seek relief from a house that made them cruelly sick, but the damage has proven irreversible. Sandi is now so electrosensitive that she lives without electricity, phones or computers. No physician has found a solution to the low, pulsed radio frequency hum and droning sounds that she hears constantly, especially when she is near electrical power lines. Due to the nerve damage she says she acquired after her “smart” meter exposure, Sandi endures the same audio-torture being reported by many other people nationwide from similar exposures.30

Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy, British biologist and expert on the bio-effects of microwave radiation, explains: “The duration of the radiation seems to be more important than its strength, with the effects being cumulative as more and more cells are damaged. Interestingly, DNA damage from cell phone radiation is greater when the exposure is intermittent (five minutes on, ten minutes off) than when continuous (Diem et al., 2005). This may be because the cells are constantly adapting and using energy to defend themselves; they drop their guard during the off period and are caught unawares when it goes on again….“Smart” meters, which operate 24/7 and radiate modulated microwaves intermittently, can therefore be expected to be particularly harmful to DNA.”31

The National Institutes of Health confirms the fact that all cancer begins with damaged DNA. In a nation with fourteen million cancer victims and 1.6 million new cancer cases diagnosed each year (not counting millions of skin cancers), exposure to EMR from wireless technologies matters to everyone’s health.

Surely the welfare of pregnant women and children is of utmost importance to our society. EMR from “smart” meters and other electronics has the potential to damage the entire human reproductive system. This was already reported in 1971 by the Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI) at Bethesda, Maryland, which collected over twenty-three hundred studies to document the impacts of non-ionizing radiation on human health. Dr. Zorach R. Glaser, Ph.D., compiled these studies. Among deleterious effects listed in Dr. Glaser’s report are altered menstrual activity, male impotence, altered sex ratio of births (more girls), and decreased lactation in nursing mothers.32

Today, medical science offers much additional confirmation that EMR emissions from AMI meters and their support infrastructure have the potential to damage ovaries and ova cells, harm the fetus, cause low birth weight, and even induce premature delivery.33 There is also increasing evidence that EMR emissions may be linked to America’s epidemic of autistic spectrum disorders.34

Public awareness is a first step toward forging solutions to the many challenges of the “smart” grid conundrum. We need citizens, legislators and regulators concerned about health. We need “smart” meters recalled and analog mechanical meters restored. We need to stop deploying any new technologies until they are proven harmless.

In its scathing letter to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, Northeast Utilities has stated that achievement of gridmodernization objectives “does not require the implementation of AMI, despite the Department’s suggestion that it does.” This letter contains sensible alternative recommendations for cost-effective grid modernization, fully achievable without noxious AMI radiation hazards.35

It is truly wise to become educated on all of these vital issues. We must be proactive in order to understand what utility companies are planning for our individual neighborhoods and for our states.

In these challenging times, vigilance and reliable information empower us to prevent suffering and protect everyone’s health.

SIDEBARS

THE 2012 BIOINITIATIVE REPORT OVERVIEW: IMPLICATIONS FOR HEALTH FROM THE ROLLOUT OF “SMART” METERS
BY CINDY SAGE, CO-EDITOR
The BioInitiative Report 2012 updates the last five years (2007-2012) of science, public health, public policy and global response to the growing health issue of chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields and radio frequency radiation in the daily life of billions of people around the world. The Report has been prepared by 29 authors from ten countries, including ten medical doctors, twenty-one PhDs, and three MsC, MA, or MPHs. Among the authors are three former presidents of the Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS), and five full members of BEMS. One distinguished author is the chair of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation. Another is a senior advisor to the European Environmental Agency.

The great strength of the BioInitiative Report (www.bioinitiative.org) is that it has been carried out independently of governments, existing bodies and industry professional societies. Precisely because of this, the BioInitiative Report presents a solid scientific and public health policy assessment that is evidence-based.

The global conversation on why public safety limits for electromagnetic and radio frequency fields remain thousands of times higher than exposure levels that health studies consistently show to be associated with serious health impacts has intensified since 2007. Roughly eighteen new studies have been published in the last five years reporting effects at exposure levels ten to hundreds or thousands of times lower than allowed under safety limits in most countries. Yet no government has instituted comprehensive reforms. Some actions have been taken that highlight partial solutions. The Global Actions chapter presents milestone events that characterize the international “sea change” of opinion that has taken place, and reports on precautionary advice and actions from around the world.

The world’s populations—from children to the general public to scientists and physicians—face an intensifying barrage from corporate marketing propaganda that urges the insertion of the latest wireless devices into their everyday lives. This occurs even while even an elementary understanding of the possible health consequences of using these devices is beyond the ability of most people to grasp. Exposures are invisible and testing meters are expensive and technically difficult to operate. The technology industry promotes new gadgets and generates massive advertising and lobbying campaigns that silence debate, while the reliable, non-wireless versions are discontinued against public will. There is little labeling, and little or no informed choice In fact, there is often not even the choice to stay with safer, wired solutions, as in the case of the “smart grid” and “smart” wireless utility metering, an extreme example of a failed corporate-governmental partnership strategy, ostensibly initiated for energy conservation.

A collision of the wireless technology rollout and the costs of choosing unwisely has begun and will grow. The groundwork for this collision is being laid as a result of increased exposure, especially to radio frequency fields, in education, housing, commerce, communications and entertainment, medical technologies and imaging, and in public and private transportation by air, bus, train and motor vehicles. Special concerns are the care of the fetus and newborn, the care for children with learning disabilities, and consideration of people under protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which includes people who have become sensitized and physiologically intolerant of chronic exposures. The 2012 report now addresses these issues and presents an update of issues previously discussed in the BioInitiative Report 2007.
WHY SHOULD WE CARE?

The stakes are very high. Human beings are bioelectrical systems. Our hearts and brains are regulated by internal bioelectrical signals. Environmental exposures to artificial EMRs can interact with fundamental biological processes in the human body. In some cases, this may cause discomfort, sleep disruption, loss of wellbeing (impaired mental functioning and impaired metabolism), or sometimes a dread disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. It may interfere with fertility or successful full-term pregnancy, or result in brain development changes that harm the child. It may be these exposures play a role in causing long-term impairments to normal growth and development in children, jeopardizing their futures as healthy, productive adults. We have good evidence that these exposures can damage our health, or that of children of the future who will be born to parents now immersed in wireless exposures.

In the U.S., the deployment of wireless infrastructure (cell tower sites) to support cell phone use has accelerated greatly in the last decades. The spread of cell towers in communities—often placed on preschool, church, daycare, and school campuses—means that young children receive thousands of times higher RF exposures in home and school environments than existed even 20-25 years ago. CTIA estimates that in 1997 there were 36,650 cell sites in the U.S. This number increased rapidly to 131,350 in June 2002, 210,350 in June 2007, and 265,561 in June 2012 (CTIA, 2012).

These wireless antennas for cellular phone voice and data transmission produce whole-body RFR exposures over broad areas in communities—an involuntary and unavoidable sources of radio frequency radiation exposure. Further, the nearly universal switch to cordless and cell phones from corded landline phones means close and repetitive exposures to both EMF and RFR in the home. Other new RFR exposures come from Wi-Fi access points (hotspots) that radiate continuously in cafés, stores, libraries, classrooms, on buses and trains, and from personal Wi-Fi enabled devices (such as iPads, tablets, and PDAs).

The largest single source of community-wide, pervasive RFR yet rolled out is the “smart meter” infrastructure. This program places a wireless device (like a mini-mobile phone base station) on the wall, replacing the electromechanical (spinning dial) meter. They are to be installed on every home and classroom in every building with an electric meter. Utilities from California to Maine have installed tens of millions already, despite the deep alarm of experts and enormous public resistance. The wireless meters produce spikes of pulsed radio frequency radiation continuously, and in typical operation, will saturate living spaces at levels that can be much higher than those already reported to cause bioeffects and adverse health effects (utilities can only say they are compliant with outdated federal safety standards, which may or may not always be true—see http://sagereports.com/smart-meter-rf). These meters, depending on where they are placed relative to occupied space in the home or classroom, can produce RFR exposure levels similar to those within the first 100 feet to 600 feet of a mobile phone base station (cell tower).

The cumulative RFR burden within any community is largely unknown. Both involuntary sources (like cell towers, smart meters, and second-hand radiation from the use of wireless devices by others) plus voluntary exposures from personal use of cell and cordless phones, wireless routers, electronic baby surveillance monitors, wireless security systems, wireless hearing aids, and wireless medical devices like implanted insulin pumps, all add up. No one is tallying up these combined exposure levels. Billions of new RFR transmitters from the “smart” meter rollout alone will raise the baseline RFR levels and add significantly to the existing RFR background.

DO WE KNOW ENOUGH TO TAKE ACTION?
There is more evidence than we need. Over the last five years, new scientific studies indicate the situation is much worse than in 2007 and yet people around the world have so much more daily exposure than even five years ago. Exposures are linked to a variety of adverse health outcomes that may have significant public health consequences. When considering billions of people world-wide, no argument to maintain the status quo can be persuasive now. In twenty-one technical chapters of the BioInitiative Report 2012 update, the contributing authors discuss the content and implications of 1800 new studies. Overall, there is reinforced scientific evidence of risk where there is chronic exposure to low-intensity electromagnetic fields and to wireless technologies (radio frequency radiation including microwave radiation).

There is more evidence in 2012 that such exposures damage DNA, interfere with DNA repair, and are hazardous to the nervous system. More and better studies on the effects of mobile phone base stations (wireless antenna facilities or cell towers) report lower RFR levels over time can result in adverse health outcomes. An increasing number of studies have examined the effects of wireless laptops as well as cell phones worn on the belt or in the pocket of men on sperm quality, motility, and sperm death. A dozen new studies focus on the fetus, infant and young child, and child-in-school.

The levels of exposure we face in 2012 are higher, and have crept into everyday life, even for children. The levels at which undesirable effects on health and well-being are seen is much lower. There is much greater involuntary exposure, and it is nearly unavoidable even for people who choose not to “go wireless” via second-hand radiation effects. Safe forms of communication by land-line telephone are being phased out without general public knowledge or agreement. There is no informed consent for consumers (warning labels on cell phones, for example, have been defeated by telecom industry lobby groups). It is still difficult or impossible for consumers to get reliable information on levels of exposure from wireless devices. It is simply beyond the reach of people to identify where excessively high levels of exposure occur in their communities, and it is very rare for a county or state health department to accommodate requests for information or provide measurements.

The range of possible health effects that are adverse with chronic exposures has broadened. The most serious health endpoints that have been reported to be associated with extremely low frequency (ELF) and/or radio frequency radiation (RFR) include childhood and adult leukemia, childhood and adult brain tumors, and increased risk of Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, there are reports of increased risk of breast cancer in both men and women, genotoxic effects, pathological leakage of the blood–brain barrier, altered immune function including increased allergic and inflammatory responses, miscarriage, and some cardiovascular effects. Insomnia is reported in studies of people living in very low-intensity RFR environments with Wi-Fi and cell tower-level exposures.

We could do otherwise. Each wireless version had a wired counterpart with none of the wireless-associated health effects. It is time to re-think the wireless tsunami and educate people about health, privacy and security risks. It is past time to develop new safety standards. Now we must look to less harmful ways to communicate, move ourselves from place to place, shop, sleep, recreate, save energy and educate our children in school.

Adapted from the 2012 BioInitiative Report and reprinted with permission.

ON HOW TO REFUSE A “SMART” METER
Jerry Day posts the following letter on jerryday.com for anyone who chooses to refuse installation of a “smart” meter on their residence or property. He suggests that you consult your attorney to tailor the letter to your specifications, then send your revised version to your utility company’s CEO or president by certified mail.

Keep copies of your letter and your certified mail receipt.

If anyone attempts to install a transmitting meter on your residence, show them the copy of your letter and proof of its delivery (your certified mail receipt). Tell them that installing a transmitting meter on your residence will thereby be a criminal trespass. If they attempt this, you will call the police, request that the installer be taken into custody, and file a criminal complaint with the police.

If the company responds to your letter in writing, Jerry Day suggests that you write back. Remind them that they have not proven that they may lawfully install any radiation-emitting surveillance device on your residence.

MODEL LETTER

Your Name/Energy Customer’s Name
Street Address
City, State Zip Code

Name of Utility’s CEO, President, General Manager or Board Chair
Utility Company
Street Address
City, State Zip Code Date

NOTICE OF NO CONSENT TO TRESPASS, SURVEILLANCE OR RADIATION POLLUTION.
NOTICE OF LIABILITY. ADHESION CONTRACT.

Dear (CEO’s Name) and All Agents, Officers, Employees, Contractors and Interested Parties:

In regard to your possible intention to install a “smart” or other digital utility meter at the above address, those meters violate the law. They cause endangerment to people in their vicinity due to the following factors:

1. They individually identify electrical devices and record when they are operated, causing invasion of privacy.
2. They monitor household activity and occupancy in violation of rights and domestic privacy.
3. They transmit wireless signals that are interceptable by unauthorized and distant parties.
4. No power company or other individual agency has consent to conduct surveillance or monitoring or to emit radiation (EMR) on our property or residence with a digital meter.
5. Those with access to the data can review a permanent history of household activities taken and viewed unlawfully and without the consent of occupants and subjects of the surveillance.
6. Those databases may be shared with, or fall into the hands of, unauthorized law enforcement, private hackers of wireless transmissions and other unidentified parties for use against the interests of the energy subscribers and the occupants of the structures.
7. “Smart” meters are, by definition, surveillance devices that violate federal and state wiretapping laws by recording and storing databases of private and personal activities and behaviors recorded without the consent or knowledge of those people who are monitored.
8. It is possible, for example, with analysis of certain “smart” meter data, for unauthorized and distant parties to determine medical conditions, sexual activities, vacancy patterns, general affluence, trade secrets and physical locations of occupants.
9. By intentional transmission and/or incidental disruption of house current, digital meters emit cancer-causing electromagnetic radiation, which violates laws against public endangerment, assault and commission of bodily harm.
10. Digital meters are designed to transmit using electromagnetic radiation known to cause cancer and many other diseases, illnesses and symptoms.

For the above reasons, and by right of occupancy and property ownership, I prohibit, and deny consent of, any installation and use of any monitoring, eavesdropping, surveillance and radiation-emitting devices on my property and place of residence, especially in the form of a digital, transmitting utility meter.

Any attempt to install any such device directed at me or other occupants on my property or place of residence will constitute trespass, stalking, wiretapping and assault, all prohibited and punishable by law through criminal and civil actions. All persons, government agencies and private organizations responsible for installing or operating monitoring devices that I consider unlawful will be fully liable for major financial and compliance claims and demands in excess of one million dollars.

This is a legal notice. The liabilities and obligations listed above are true and binding upon all parties upon delivery of this notice. These terms and conditions apply without regard to status or existence of any “opt-out” contract.

Under my authority as owner and/or occupant of the above property, and under your implied or expressed application to enter that property, this is an adhesion contract to which you are now bound until and unless you respond with factual rebuttal in a sworn statement by an authorized and identified party within 21 days of this delivery. Any rebuttal must show your authority to install an unlawful radiation-emitting surveillance device (digital electric “meter”) on my property without my consent. Expect rebuttal to any such claim. Any failure to timely show and prove full and binding authority to install the unlawful and harmful device on my property and/or place of occupancy will be an agreement with all terms and conditions herein. I/we deny and refuse any past, present and future proposal, offer, demand or claim contrary to any terms or conditions herein.

Notice to principal is notice to agent, and notice to agent is notice to principal.
Signature
Name of energy user and/or customer

Note: If a utility company has already installed a transmitting meter on your residence and you want it removed, first find out if the company allows an opt-out. If they do, simply go through the proper channels for having it removed and replaced with a mechanical meter. If opt-outs are not available in your area, Jerry Day offers a letter that demands removal at http://www.freedomtaker.com.

TEN QUESTIONS FOR YOUR UTILITY COMPANY

Utility companies around the world have been caught lying to their customers about their smart meter programs. The following will allow you to cut to the truth with your local utility and smart meter company.
Note: For additional research and resources, please see Film References and Key Issues & News.

1. Am I legally required to accept a smart meter?
Answer: No. You do not have to accept a smart (or “advanced” or “upgraded”) meter. Any utility company who states this is lying.

2. Can I expect my energy bills to go up with a smart meter?
Answer: Yes. Where smart meters have been deployed, energy bills have consistently risen – sometimes dramatically. The price increases will become even more pronounced once Time-of-Use (TOU) pricing is implemented. You will be charged more for electrical use when you need the electricity the most (i.e. when you come home from work or school). The idea that you will start doing your laundry at 3:00 AM when prices are cheaper is a dystopian fantasy dreamt up by the same people who think it is safe to put a toxic, microwave radiation emitting spy-device on your home.

3. In the United States, my 4th Amendment rights prevent unlawful search and seizure in my own home. Do smart meters violate these rights?
Answer: Yes. With a smart meter on your home, you can no longer retreat into your own home and expect to have the privacy that is guaranteed by law. Thus, smart meters are unconstitutional and illegal.

“With smart meters, police will have access to data that might be used to track residents’ daily lives and routines while in their homes, including their eating, sleeping, and showering habits, what appliances they use and when, and whether they prefer the television to the treadmill, among a host of other details.”
US Congressional Research Report, “Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity,” p. 7, 3 February 2012

4. Is it true that my energy use information will be sold to third-party vendors in order to market products or track my activities in some way?
Answer: Yes. The California Public Utilities Commission has stated on the record that they look forward to the business opportunities that will come from selling our personal energy use data. Just like Gmail and Facebook data, your privacy will not be preserved if you have a smart meter.

“I support today’s decision because it… expands consumer and third-party access to electricity usage and pricing information.

I hope this decision stimulates market interest.”
Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon, “California Commission Adopts Rules…”, 31 July 2011

5. Will the smart meter program help the environment by reducing energy use?
Answer: No. None of the existing smart meter programs has shown energy savings. In fact, having a wireless smart meter and smart grid mesh system takes more energy because now there are millions of new wireless transmitters on the grid that are constantly using energy and constantly transmitting. They all take additional energy that the grid must produce. Simple energy conservation steps by citizens would have saved much more energy, but would not have been profitable for utility companies, the smart meter industry and governments.

Furthermore, any technology that harms the health of humans, plants and animals like that of microwave radiation emitting smart meters can never be considered environmentally sustainable or “green.” It is the exact opposite – an environmental calamity.

“The pilot results showed no beneficial impact on total energy usage.”

Connecticut Attorney General George Jespen, “Jespen Urges State Regulators…”, 8 February 2011

6. Have there been fires where smart meters have been installed?
Answer: Yes, throughout the world there have been thousands of fires that have occurred once smart meters have been installed. This is happening because of faulty installations, old wiring that cannot handle the new meters and when smart meters have been turned on remotely. In Pennsylvania, PECO/Exelon halted their installation program because of more than twenty-four documented fires. Property damage has been significant and one man died in California because of a smart meter fire. Notably, the vast majority of smart meters are not approved or listed by UL (Underwriters Laboratories). Because of this, a fire related to a smart meter on your home may not be covered by your insurance.

“For myself, as an adjuster, I believe the Smart Meters are a real threat to the safety of your home, business and property. I have personally worked two large homeowner fires in which the Smart Meters were determined as responsible.”

Norman Lambe, insurance adjuster, “The not so smart meter”, 13 November 2011.

7. Are there any known health effects related to smart meters?
Answer: There are over 6,000 studies showing biological effects from the same form of radiation that smart meters invisibly emit – commonly known as “electro-smog” pollution. Additionally, thousands of people across the United States, Canada and Australia have become ill once smart meters have been installed on their homes. Medical doctors and scientists around the world are speaking out on the dangers of smart meters. Smart meters emit radiation continuously and cannot be turned off at night when radiation is the most dangerous for the body and brain. Comparatively, a cell phone – which emits radiation at levels hundreds of times lower – can be turned off when not in use.

Secondly, smart meters generate what’s known as “dirty electricity” radiation pollution throughout your home, because of the switching-mode power supply that they utilize. An “opt-out” to a wired digital meter still produces dirty electricity. Only a non-digital analog meter does not produce dirty electricity.

An individual opt-out still exposes you to the radiation from the neighbors’ meters and other grid infrastructure. And every smart meter in your neighborhood adds to the dirty electricity in your home, even if you opt out, because all neighboring homes share the same power substation.

“We have noted from previous health hazard histories such as that of lead in petrol, and methyl mercury, that ‘early warning’ scientists frequently suffer from discrimination, from loss of research funds, and from unduly personal attacks on their scientific integrity. It would be surprising if this is not already a feature of the present EMF controversy as it seems to be still a common practice as has been recently reported in Nature.”

Professor Jacquie McGlade, executive director of the European Environment Agency, 15 September 2009

8. How many pulses of radiation does my smart meter emit per day?
Answer: Wireless smart meters around the world have been shown to emit between 5,000 and 190,000 pulses per day. Your utility may state they only transmit 45-60 seconds a day. This is because they are only adding up the millisecond pulses that occur constantly throughout the day. What they are not telling you is that the pulses occur every few seconds, which means that the meters are constantly emitting microwave radiation. Your smart meter is continuously communicating with hundreds of other smart meters, grid infrastructure, and in the future, all appliances in your home.

The levels at which a single smart meter emits radiation can be more than 80 times higher than recommended safety levels based upon current published science. (Examples: http://www.BioInitiative.org, and http://www.baubiologie.de/site/english.
php)

In addition to current health risks, unless the smart meter programs are stopped, you will eventually have 10-20 appliances that each emit a pulse of radiation every few seconds in order to communicate wirelessly with your smart meter. This will fill your home with even more dangerous pulsed microwave radiation affecting your entire family.
“There is no substitute for a roll back of all Smart Meters at the community level, or higher.”
Ronald Powell, PhD Applied Physics, “Biological Effects from RF Radiation at Low-Intensity Exposure, based on the Bio-Initiative 2012 Report, and the Implications for Smart Meters and Smart Appliances”, 2013

9. Have smart meters been proven to be safe?
Answer: No. The smart meter industry has not released one actual study on whether smart meters are safe for human beings. They do not want to look at something that would damage their business. This is the case even though thousands of people have become ill once smart meters were installed on their home and so much science shows that microwave radiation is dangerous.

It is interesting to note that smart meters do meet federal agency “safety” guidelines. However, the FCC and others’ guidelines are not actually meant to protect our health. In fact, they are only meant to protect from acute tissue heating and electrical shock over several minutes. They are not meant to protect humans from the long-term, non-thermal levels of microwave radiation emitted by devices such as smart meters. In fact, there are no true governmental safety standards that govern smart meters. The utility company is misinformed or simply lying when they say they are safe because they meet the FCC guidelines.

“If a manufacturer wants to give a product to a consumer, especially in this case to everybody – imposed on everybody—they are the ones who should carry the burden to prove it’s safe before they can give it to the people. It’s not up to consumers to demonstrate they are unsafe.”

Dr. De Kun Li MD PhD MPH, senior research epidemiologist, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, in Take Back Your Power

10. Are utilities getting financial kickbacks for forcing smart meters on everyone?
Answer: Yes. As Time Magazine has reported, in the United States eleven billion dollars of taxpayer funds (though there are reports that this is a conservative estimate) were spent as “incentives” for utilities to attempt to force the installation of smart meters upon all of their customers without their consent. As this money is divided amongst all utilities, many energy providers are actually receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, but first they have to install the meters.

As this sort of incentivizing, perhaps also called bribery, is happening in similar fashion in many other industrialized countries, the multinational smart meter/smart grid initiative could potentially turn out to be the largest attempted financial scam in modern history.

REFERENCES

1. “IEE Report finds Smart Meters Widely Deployed, Laying Groundwork for Expanded Grid Benefits,” The Edison Foundation for Electric Innovation, 2014.

2. American Academy of Environmental Medicine, Letter to Public Utilities Commission of the State of California, January 19, 2012.

3. The BioInitiative Report 2012.

4. Ibid.

5. This figure is offered in the 2013 documentary film “Take Back Your Power,” Josh del Sol, producer.

6. “Why Smart Meters Might be a Dumb Idea,” W. Kelly, Consumer’s Digest, January 2011.

7. Ibid.

8. This comprehensive list of systems within a smart meter mesh infrastructure is found in Sempra Energy Proprietary and Confidential Information, Volume I Technical and Project Plan, August 2009, published for San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) in a proposal for its GridComm System. This document, describing the vast microwave mesh infrastructure needed for SDG&E’s GridComm smart metering system, was endorsed by a vendor team that includes CISCO, IBM, Arcadian and CSC.

9. “Epidemiological Evidence for a Health Risk from Mobile Phone Base Stations.” Int J Occup Env Health:16- 3, Jul/ Sept 2010, p. 263-267.

10. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) press release, Lyon France, May 31, 2011.

11. “Biological and Health Effects of Microwave Radio Frequency Transmissions, A Review of the Research Literature: A report to the Staff and Directors of the Eugene Water and Electric Board,” Paul Dart M.D. et al, June 4, 2013.

12. “The ‘Medusa’ Meter—A Bigger Unsafe Meter for Preferred Customers,” stopsmartmeters.org.

13. These radiation measurements were obtained and discussed by producer Josh de Sol in the documentary film “Take Back Your Power.”

14. “Smart Meters are Not an Environmentally Sustainable Option,” spiritofchange.org. This information on documented blood damage from microwave exposure is presented by Dr. Frank Springob of Port Angeles, Washington, and discussed in the documentary film “Take Back Your Power.”

15. Dr. Klinghardt makes this statement in the documentary film “Take Back Your Power.”

16. Assessment of Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation Emissions from Smart Meters, Sage Associates, Santa Barbara, California, January 2011.

17. “Smart Meters Violate FCC Radiation Exposure Limits Says New Study,” Stopsmartmeters. org. 2012.

18. Tantalus News press release, December 19, 2013: Inland Power and Light Turns to Tantalus and Itron for Smart Grid Communications Network.

19. “Hackers Use Refrigerators and TVs to Launch Cyber Attack,” Electronic Products.com, January 17, 2014.

20. EMF Safety Network, See: Smart Meters at emfsafetynetwork.org.

21. “Now Radio Waves coming from your Faucet?” Texans United Against Smart Meters, January 2, 2013.

22. Initial comments submitted January 17, 2014 on behalf of Northeast Utilities in response to smart meter proposal issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities of December 2013, DPU 12-76-A.

23. Energy Now News, stopsmartmeters.com, August 15, 2011. This is a transcript of the video: “The Mix: Cyber-terrorism’s Threat.”

24. “A Hacker’s Dream: Smart Meters have Security Holes,” Associated Press, March 28, 2010.

25. Energy Now News, stopsmartmeters.com, August 15, 2011. This is a transcript of the video: “The Mix: Cyber-terrorism’s Threat.”

26. “Connecting Dots: US Patent Office Admits Energy Suppression,” Josh del Sol, thebigpitcher. org, September 2012.

27. Ibid.

28. “Smart Meter Interference,” Martine Victor, The Manchester Journal, March 14, 2013.

29. “Why Smart Meters Might be a Dumb Idea,” W. Kelly, Consumer’s Digest, January 2011.

30. A good site for exploring the nuisance of an oppressive environmental hum heard by many across the nation is Sandaura’s Blog at sandaura.wordpress.com. This blog features testimonies from people who can hear various radio frequency hums, standing waves, and droning sounds believed by many observers to be emanating from many smart grid networks.

31. How Smart Meters Can Cause Autism and Cancer, Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy, MCSA News, Volume 6, Issue 8, 2011.

32. Bibliography of Reported Biological Phenomena (Effects) and Clinical Manifestations Attributed to Microwave and Radio Frequency Radiation, Zorach R. Glasser, Naval Medical Institute, National Naval Medical Center, October 1971, AD 750271.

33. 312 References on Electrosmog, Fertility and Reproduction published by EMF Safety.org. This is a comprehensive bibliography of scientific studies showing deleterious effects of electromagnetic fields on fertility and reproduction, last updated June 2012.

34. “Findings in Autism (ASD) Consistent with Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) and Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR),” Martha Herbert, Ph.D., M.D., Pediatric Neurology TRANSCEND Research Program Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. This paper was prepared for the BioInitiative Working Group December 2012.

35. Initial comments submitted January 17, 2014 on behalf of Northeast Utilities in response to smart meter proposal issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities of December 2013, DPU 12-76-A.

Source: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/smart-meters-not-so-smart/

Smart grid powers up privacy worries

The next Big Data threat to our privacy may come from the electricity we consume in our homes.

“Smart” online power meters are tracking energy use — and that data may soon be worth more than the electricity they distribute.

The Department of Energy is publishing in January the final draft of a voluntary code of conduct governing data privacy for smart meters, 38 million of which have already been installed nationwide. The meters gather information about household electricity consumption and transmit it wirelessly at regular intervals to the supplier. It’s a key element in the push for the so-called smart grid, a more efficient way to distribute the nation’s electricity.

But, despite the voluntary code, critics fear consumers will still be cajoled or conned into giving up their data, not just to power companies but to third-party data aggregators. Too much money is at stake, they say. And the huge profits to be made could upend the business model of energy utilities.

“I think the data is going to be worth a lot more than the commodity that’s being consumed to generate the data,” said Miles Keogh, director of grants and research at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

All sorts of inferences about people’s private lives are potentially available from detailed energy consumption data. The number of people inside a house. Daily routines. Degree of religious observance. Household appliance usage. Even, according to two German hackers, what’s on the television, given a fast enough meter refresh rate.

“Very sensitive information can be revealed about homes, and homes are the most sacred privacy environment,” said Nancy King, an Oregon State University business law and ethics academicwho’s studying smart meter deployments.

Access and control of that energy usage data will be key, she added. “Most consumers are just unaware about how their data feeds into the Big Data machine and are powerless to do much about it.”

For now, electric utilities collecting the data use it to improve how they manage the distribution of power. They envision a smart grid of greater reliability and efficiency, able to respond rapidly to fluctuations in demand. A smart grid would be more economical and have a smaller environmental footprint.

The market for the kind of Big Data energy analytics that will run the smart grid will reach a billion dollars annually in the United States and Canada by 2019, predicts analysis firm Navigant Research.

But that same data could also be a gold mine for other purposes — retailers deciding where to open their next store, marketers profiling neighborhoods with an even finer tooth comb, or in ways we have yet to even think up.

Exhaustive electricity consumption data “is a holy grail, in many ways” for marketing analysts and consumer data aggregators, said Lee Tien, a senior attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Few other types of data get inside the home the way that electrical usage data does.”

The privacy-invading potential of smart meters hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Energy Department, which in September published a draft voluntary code of conduct governing data privacy and the smart grid.

“Almost two years ago now, we said we should probably facilitate something among the industry that addresses the privacy concerns around this area before it really becomes an issue, before there’s really a lot of demand for that data,” said Eric Lightner, director of the Federal Smart Grid Task Force. He anticipates publication of the final draft in January.

Central to the draft code is “customer choice and consent,” the concept that rate payers should control access to their data by third parties. Already there’s a developing market for devices that hook up to smart meters and collect data at a rate far quicker than utilities. Home security vendor ADT, for example, can connect to smart meters in near real time for an energy management offering.

Critics wonder whether the code of conduct will stand up to the changes that Big Data will create in the energy industry. “When you become a company whose most valuable asset is not the kilowatt-hours but the data, that fundamentally changes what kind of company you are,” Keogh warned.

For example, an exception to the consumer consent principle in the draft code is “aggregated or anonymized data” — data at the level that Keogh predicts will be the most valuable for data miners. Consumer market analysts don’t care “whether I am washing my dishes at 4 in the afternoon or 5 in the afternoon,” he said. But they do care about regional patterns formed by that individual usage.

Utilities might find it a “lucrative business line for them to do the synthesis of the data, and then provide it to third parties,” he suggested.

But many power utilities, operating in one of the world’s most heavily regulated industries, are highly cautious businesses, and at least one says they are barred from using data like that. “Interval data is considered personally identifiable data, even if it’s anonymized,” said an executive with a West Coast public utility who asked not to be identified. “We just can’t give that kind of thing up.”

But that points to the other loophole contained in the code of conduct — the power of voluntary consent. Not even the most heavy-handed utility regulator can do much if consumers decide to permit access to their consumption data — perhaps in exchange for a price break.

“If the customer wants to share that kind of information with a third party, then that’s a different story. They’ve allowed it to happen. It’s their usage data,” said the executive. DOE’s Lightner agreed.

Consumers have a history of trading privacy for “very little monetary reward,” noted King. “It would be fair to probably assume that many, many consumers would give unfettered access to their data through a smart meter to providers who would give them free energy.”

So far, nobody appears to be proposing that, nor even lesser incentives, in exchange for consumers’ meter data.

That leads some to believe that estimates of the value of smart meter consumption data are overblown — or at any rate, that it’s too early to say whether the next big gold rush of consumer data will come from the smart grid.

“It’s … speculative to assume that the data will be incredibly valuable,” said Richard Caperton, director of national policy and partnerships at Opower. The Arlington, Va.-based company has a stake in the energy Big Data game already. It partners with utilities to give consumers comparative analyses of their energy usage measured against similar households, letting them know if their consumption is greater or less than their neighbors.

Ultimately a voluntary code of conduct is too fragile a way to protect household data, says King, the privacy professor. Neither is the concept of consumer choice necessarily an ideal way to protect consumer privacy, she added. DOE, of course, has little choice but to go the voluntary route, since it doesn’t have regulatory authority over the consumer end of the power system.

The solution, she says, is a “basic, comprehensive data law in this country, and it does not need to be based on notice and consent,” King said.

By David Perera

Source: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/energy-electricity-data-use-113901.html

9 Household Products That May Be Spying on You

For Americans concerned about their privacy, the NSA data grabs are daunting, but what about the data grabs happening inside your own home, perpetrated not by the government, but by your coffee machine?

Consider every appliance and every piece of home electronics that you own. Does it gather data about how you use it? Does it connect to the Internet? If so, it could be used to spy on you. Your mobile devices, your TV, and now various other types of home appliances can be wired into a network that can track you. If those networks are hacked, information about your habits and behaviors could be available to people with nefarious goals. The same technological innovation that empowers us also makes us vulnerable to those who would exploit such advances against us.

Here are nine appliances and other systems inside your house that may be spying on you right now, or used to spy on you in the future.

PHOTO: A man watches television.
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1.

Your Television

Ever wonder how your TV remembers what shows you’ve watched, which ones you plan to watch, and how long you watched last episode of “Homeland” before falling into nightmare-ridden sleep?

It does it all by connecting to the Internet. Therein lies its weakness. Computer Security firm ReVuln proved last year that it could hack Samsung’s newest televisions, accessing users’ settings, installing malware on the TVs and any connected devices, and harvesting all the personal data stored on the machine. They could even switch on the camera embedded in the TV and watch viewers watching the set.

Samsung says it patched the security flaw. That said, who’s to say that Samsung is the only brand to have experienced a security issue?

PHOTO: Cable television box.
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2.

Your Cable Box

Companies including Google and Verizon are reportedly developing cable boxes with built-in video cameras and motion sensors. The idea is that if the camera detects two people canoodling on the couch, they might be delivered ads for a new romantic movie, while a roomful of children would see ads for an Air Hogs remote control helicopter.

If that freaks you out, think what government intelligence agencies or hackers could do with such a device.

PHOTO: Dishwasher unit in a home.
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3.

Your Dishwasher, Clothes Dryer, Toaster, Clock Radio and Remote Control

This may sound fantastical, but no less an expert on spying than former CIA Director David Petraeus believes that even mundane appliances like your dishwasher could soon be used to gather intelligence about you. Appliances including dishwashers, coffee makers and clothes dryers all now connect to the Internet. This helps the manufacturers troubleshoot performance and improve energy efficiency, and it gives owners the chance to order a fresh cup of coffee or a dry bin of clothes from their phone, computer or tablet.

Knowing when you make your coffee sounds innocuous enough, but that little piece of data could help snoopers geo-locate you, and learn your habits and schedule for all manner of malfeasance. Petraeus told a group of investors last year that such technology will be “transformational” for spies –could “change our notions of secrecy.” I think it could help criminals, too.

PHOTO: Lights in a walkway.
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4.

Your Lights

The same technology that enables monitoring of your home appliances also could allow would-be spies to monitor your lights. In addition to tracking your schedule, taking control of your home lighting system could help robbers invade your home by turning off the lights and keeping them off during an invasion.

PHOTO: An air conditioner thermostat unit.
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5.

Your Heat and A/C

The Nest thermostat tracks homeowners’ heat and air-conditioning habits, learns their preferences, and over time tweaks their HVAC systems to reach the desired results with the least electricity. Users also can change the settings via the Internet when they’re away from home.

Hackers already have started taking apart the Nest thermostat to customize it. Thieves and snoopers could do the same.

PHOTO: Security system control panel.
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6.

Security Alarms

For years, home security systems were hardwired to a service provider’s operations center. Now they are wirelessly connected to many users’ phones and tablets. This allows us to keep tabs on our homes at all times, from all places. But what’s the point of having a security system if robbers can hack it?

PHOTO: A pacemaker x-ray.
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7.

Insulin Pumps and Pacemakers

Forget about hacking your house. What about hacking your body? In 2012, White Hat hacker Barnaby Jack, recently deceased, proved he could kill a diabetic person from 300 feet away by ordering an insulin pump to deliver fatal doses of insulin. This summer he announced he could hack pacemakers and implanted defibrillators.

“These are computers that are just as exploitable as your PC or Mac, but they’re not looked at as often,” Jack told Bloomberg. “When you actually look at these devices, the security vulnerabilities are quite shocking.”

PHOTO: A woman checks messages on her smartphone.
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8.

Smartphones

Think of every spy gadget dreamt up by Q in James Bond films. Microphone, still and video camera, geo-locating device, and computer software that can steal your personal passwords, hack your bank accounts, hijack your email and take control of other devices.

Your smartphone has all these things. In addition, the U.S. military disclosed last year it created an app called PlaceRaider that uses a phone’s camera, geo-location data and its accelerometer to create a 3D map of the phone’s surroundings.

PHOTO: A laptop computer on a desk.
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9.

Your Tablet and Computer

Most tablets and computers have all the same tools as smartphones and some have even more. If your phone can spy on you, they can too. Even more so than our smartphones, we unwittingly stuff them with every imaginable tidbit of sensitive personal information from lists of passwords, to tax and financial information, to geo-tagged photographs, to the innermost secrets that we exchange with our friends.

Our privacy is threatened. Every day our most precious asset (our identity) is put at risk by us and those who wish to track our every movement, word, thought and search. We need a national conversation – where everyone participates – about just how widespread such monitoring has become. General Petraeus is dead on. Such devices could and inevitably will change our notions of secrecy. Let’s not simply opt for progress without proper safeguards.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.Adam Levin is chairman and cofounder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/household-products-spying/story?id=19974898#9

Arizona Smart Meters Not Established as Safe

AZ Sampling LocationsThe Arizona Department of Health, Office of Environmental Health released a report  in November 2014 entitled, “Public Health Evaluation of Radio Frequency Exposure from Electronic Meters.” For purposes of this article, the issued document will be referred to as the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) report, or simply the “ADHS report.”

This  article presents a critical review of the ADHS report analyzing the conclusions and whether evidence presented in the report supports the stated goals.

The ADHS Report Conclusion

The final conclusion of the report was as follows:

“Exposure to electric meters (AMI and AMR) is not likely to harm the health of the public.”

What does this mean?  The dictionary definition of “not likely” or “unlikely” would generally be “improbable.”  Just on the face of it, the ADHS report conclusion does not inspire confidence to those members of the public concerned with their personal “safety” which would mean “freedom from harm or danger” or where a home would be “a place that is free from harm or danger.”

Thus, just from reading the ADHS report conclusion, it can be determined that wireless utility smart meters in Arizona have not been established as “safe.”

This is in contrast to headlines produced by smart grid industry mouthpiece websites and some media outlets that were supposedly summarizing the findings of the ADHS report, such as:

“AZ regulator study: Smart meters are safe” at: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/az-regulator-study-smart-meters-are-safe/331474/.

“Arizona Commission Determines Smart Meters Safe and Noninvasive” at http://www.smartmeters.com/arizona-commission-determines-smart-meters-safe-noninvasive/.  Note that this article at smartmeters.com not only declares that smart meters are safe but also that the ADHS report addressed privacy issues, which it did not.

“AZ Study: ‘Smart Meters’ Pose No Hazard,” KFYI News & Talk, at http://www.kfyi.com/onair/arizona-news-55067/az-study-smart-meters-pose-no-12949289.

The above headlines are hereby exposed as biased reporting/ propaganda.

Peer-Reviewed Literature

One of the two (2) goals of the ADHS report (as stated in last paragraph on page 1 of report) was:

“to determine whether the current body of peer-reviewed literature has found an association between RF exposure from low level RF exposure and adverse health effects.” [emphasis added]

Note that the goal of the ADHS report was to determine whether an association could be found between RF exposure and adverse health effects, not to establish causality.

Based upon the information presented in the ADHS report pertaining to the section on “Scientific Publication Review,” it would seem a reasonable person would conclude that some level of  association does exist between RF exposure and adverse health effects.  Here are several quotes from the report with emphasis added using bold font:

“An international group of researchers reported in L. Verschaeve et. al. the endpoint, exposure conditions, and conclusions for 82 genotoxic endpoints from in vitro (lab studies, eg. cells in a petri dish), 29 animal, and 17 human from various studies on RF exposure.  The authors concluded that the majority of studies that showed positive results (RF exposure lead to an adverse outcome) reported high exposure levels and the effects were likely due to thermal effects.  They also stated that although there were some studies that suggested adverse outcomes from lower level exposure to RF, this apparent association might be due to many factors including poor study design, errors, or incorrect assumptions regarding exposure conditions.”

“Kundi et al. (2010) reviewed nine epidemiological studies conducted by various countries: US, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Germany.  These studies investigated the relationship between the use of cell phones and cancer, mainly brain tumors.  They concluded that, based on the available information, an elevated cancer risk associated with cell phone use cannot be ruled out because increased cancer risks were observed in epidemiological studies.”

“Roosli (2008) conducted a systemic review of electromagnetic sensibility (i.e. the ability to perceive low levels of EMF) and electromagnetic sensitivity (i.e. the development of health symptoms attributing to exposure to EMF such as headache, sleep disturbance, fatigue, dizziness, and concentration difficulties.) … Four population-based studies were reviewed. Two studies observed slightly increased, but not significant, complaints while the other two studies found there is no association.  Overall, this review concluded that:  the large majority of individuals who claim to be able to detect low level of radio frequency EMF are not able to do so under double-blind conditions.”

“In another study, Karaca et. al. (2012) stated that “the results of our study support the proposition that cell phones may have a potential to cause hazardous effects on the genome; however, in in vivo conditions, the duration of exposure and the capacity of DNA repair may prevent the development of cancer to an extent.”

“ADHS conducted a literature search of peer-reviewed articles on the potential effects of RF radiation.  Special attention was given to articles that discussed the health concerns most noted by Arizona citizens. …  Most of the studies concluded that there was no association between RF exposure at low levels and adverse health outcomes.  A couple of articles found weak associations.  Some studies called for additional research (Mohler, 2012; Lowden 2011; Heinrich 2010; Mortazavi 2014; Poulsen 2013; Swerdlow 2011; Kwon 2012; Choi 2014; and Frei 2012).”

“Another review article summarizes that excessive exposure to magnetic fields from power lines and other sources of electric current increases the risk of development of some cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. Excessive exposure to RF radiation increases risk of cancer, male infertility, and neurobehavioral abnormalities.  Smart meters usually produce atypical, relatively potent, and short-pulsed RF microwaves whose biological effects have never been fully tested and may, in fact, be more hazardous than other waveforms.  Electronic meters can add significantly to aggregate RF exposure.”

Although most of the ADHS report citations contain qualifying language to indicate that adverse health effects have not been proven or do not represent consistent evidence, that objective was not stated as a goal for the report to examine.  In fact, it would seem that the evidence presented in the ADHS report, at a minimum, supports the assertion that adverse health effects reported in the section of the report entitled “Submissions from the Community” are plausible with some associations found between RF exposure and bioeffects as reported in published literature.  These associations should not be later ignored when it comes to addressing public health concerns.

Arizona Field Testing Measurements

A second stated goal of the ADHS report (as stated in last paragraph on page 1 of report) was:

“to determine whether RF exposure from electronic meters on residences, including single family homes and apartment complexes are within the FCC standards or are at levels to cause public health concern;”

The above goal is interesting in that it does not totally rely on determining compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standards but apparently recognizes that the public may also have concerns for exposures received at levels less than the guidelines established by the FCC.

Furthermore, the ADHS report mentions in the conclusion section that one reason for smart meter adverse health effects not being likely was that “none of the detected power density exceeded the lowest available guideline of 0.1 W/m2 (determined by Russia.)”

Note:  Although this article does not allow full treatment of the ADHS report’s premise that the Russian exposure guideline is the “lowest available,” part of the issue that needs to be addressed is whether existing national guidelines adequately address the broad emergence of published literature indicating bioeffects at levels much lower than those guidelines.

Unfortunately, the field testing results appear to be flawed, and it is quite possible that more accurate test measurements would have revealed peak power density measurements close to if not exceeding the Russian guidelines.  Therefore, it can logically be concluded that more reliable field testing results may support the proposition “that the public might have concerns for exposures” within the context of the report’s stated goal that there might be “levels to cause public health concern.”

As stated in the ADHS report, “ADHS worked with ARRA [Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency] to design a field sampling plan that would measure different meter technologies in urban and rural areas.”  This plan involved the use of an inexpensive Tenmars TM-195 RF field strength meter that normally sells on Amazon.com for less than 200 dollars.   This instrument is not exactly what one would expect for a government administered study designed to determine whether the public should have any concerns regarding wireless smart meter emissions.  As stated in the Vermont smart meter evaluation conducted by Richard Tell Associates (a study referenced by the ADHS report):

“Smart meters present a considerable challenge to the assessment of potential exposure that can occur in their vicinity. …  The very intermittent nature of the smart meter emissions as well as the fact that the emissions can occur over a range of frequencies requires an instrument that has both frequency resolution and brief signal capture ability.  Broadband probes, commonly used for RF field exposure assessment, for smart meter measurements, suffer from two perspectives. They do not discriminate the frequency of the field that is causing a response of the instrument and they typically have response times that are entirely too long to be able to accurately measure the RF field during the very brief pulses of RF energy produced by smart meters.  For example, a common response time of most broadband RF field probes is approximately one second.  This means that the instrument requires that the signal (RF field) that is being measured must exist for at least one second before the meter response can reach the peak or full value of the field.  For the typical emissions of smart meters of the type explored in this study, that are often less than 1/10 of a second in duration, this places a significant disadvantage on the broadband type of measurement instrument.  Further, if the broadband probe has a flat frequency response (the output of the probe does not change with frequency for a constant RF field level), it cannot properly weight the detected RF field in accordance with the frequency dependence of the MPE.”

The manufacturer instructions for the Tenmars TM-195 RF field strength meter are quite simplistic, and there is no indication that the ARRA selected instrument is capable of addressing the above mentioned operational limitation issues.  Thus, it is likely that the Tenmars TM-195 would underestimate actual smart meter emissions.  The ARRA measurement results must be considered unreliable.

A possible indicator of actual expected smart meter exposures was documented in the ADHS report where a referenced peer-reviewed article was cited for a specific value:

“a typical electronic meter with a 5% duty cycle at a distance of 20 cm (= 0.656 ft) emits 11 µW/cm2 of RF radiation.  This is equal to 0.11 W/m2, which is well below the FCC community guideline of 6 W/m2.”

[Note:  The ADHS report reference for the above smart meter RF power density value is:  “Human Disease Resulting from Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields,” by Carpenter, D.O., Rev Environ Health. 2013;28(4):159-72; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=24280284; please note that the value quoted by the ADHS report was time-averaged; the peak value in the above published article at 20 cm is equivalent to 2.27 W/m2.]

The authors of the ADHS report failed to highlight or take note that the peer-reviewed article value exceeds the Russian exposure guideline of 0.1 W/m2.

Additionally, for a specific Elster smart meter located in Sedona, AZ with FCC ID # QZC-RX2EA4, the FCC MPE Report indicates that the calculated value at 20 cm for compliance purposes is 1.82 W/m2.  Using the inverse square law, one would expect a peak power density of about 0.8 W/m2 at one foot.  It is acknowledged that values measured in the field may not match values submitted for FCC compliance purposes, but a large discrepancy would automatically warrant scrutiny and an explanation (and where the maximum ARRA reported field test measurement for an AMI type smart meter was only 0.0025 W/m2 at one foot).

Conclusions

The ADHS report that purports to evaluate the RF emissions from electronic/ smart meters in Arizona does not demonstrate the safety of said meters, either by the actual conclusion of the report or in the report content dealing with the report’s stated goals regarding the peer-reviewed literature review and actual testing results.

On the contrary, a reasonable person would arrive at a conclusion that peer-reviewed literature highlighted in the ADHS report does support an association between RF exposure and adverse health outcomes.  The field testing results are likely unreliable to make any conclusions.

This blog article presented a fairly high level critical review of the ADHS report analyzing the conclusions and whether evidence presented in the report supported the stated goals.  Warren Woodward of Sedona, Arizona, has performed a more comprehensive review of the ADHS report, almost on a line-by-line basis.  For those who have more time, this perspective is certainly worth a read; here is a link to that document:

A Pattern of Incompetence and Fraud — Exposing Major Mistakes, Misleading Misrepresentations, and Obvious Omissions in the Arizona Department of Health Services’ “Smart” Meter Health Study

Source: http://smartgridawareness.org/2014/12/01/arizona-smart-meters-not-established-as-safe/

Hackers Find Open Back Door to Power Grid With Renewables

Making the electricity grid greener is boosting its vulnerability to computer hacking, increasing the risk that spies or criminals can cause blackouts.

Adding wind farms, solar panels and smart meters to the power distribution system opens additional portals through which hackers can attack the grid, according to computer security experts advising governments and utilities. Where traditionally the grid took power from a few sources, it’s now absorbing it from thousands.

The communication networks and software that link green energy sources to the grid as well as the electronic meters that send real time power usage to consumers and utilities are providing new back-door entry paths for computer hackers to raise havoc with the grid. The disclosure this week that hackers known as “Dragonfly” and “Energetic Bear” gained access to power networks across the U.S. and Europe in the past 15 months is a reminder of how vulnerable the system has become.

“Attacks against the grid have moved from theory to reality,” said Raj Samani, chief technology officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa, at McAfee Inc., a unit of Intel Corp. (INTC) that’s one of the biggest security software providers.

Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

Adding wind farms, solar panels and smart meters to the power distribution system opens… Read More

Utilities, already grappling with other challenges to the grid, may spend what may run into the billions of dollars for computer security. A new multitude of energy inputs is forcing grid managers to run systems that communicate real-time data on power flows to consumers and power plants, bringing networks that were previously closely controlled into contact with computer and telecommunication systems used by millions.

‘Documented Attacks’

“There have been documented attacks, both cyber and physical on the electric grid which resulted in equipment damage, service disruption and long term repair,” said Sean McGurk, global manager for critical infrastructure protection at Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), the largest U.S. wireless carrier.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-01/renewable-energy-s-expansion-exposing-grids-to-hacking.html

Smart Meter Lawsuits

MASS TORT FILED AGAINST UTILITIES FOR HEALTH EFFECTS FROM SMART METERS/SMART GRID…

Attorneys David Kyle and Paul Overett have filed a mass tort against Edison and PG&E for health effects from smart meters/smart grid. Also names in the suit are smart meter installation companies Corix and Wellington, and smart meter manufacturers, Itron and Landis Gyr, with possibly more defendants to be added as the lawsuit progresses.

Mr. Kyle recently reached a settlement with PG&E in a wrongful death, smart meter fire suit and BEAT EDISON IN COURT to achieve the first free opt out in southern California (story on this below).

A total of 16 plaintiffs, 10 Edison and 6 PG&E allege have suffering health effects from the new wireless meters ranging from headaches, loss of sleep and tinnitus to heart attack, cancer and medical implant interference/defibrillator shut offs.

The utilities are being charged with negligence, fraud and deceit, product liability and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The suit alleges the defendants withheld important safety information associated with the use of smart meters as well as multiple violations of CA law including CA civil code section 1710 which defines deceit as an untrue assertion or suppression of a fact so as to mislead.

Liz Barris, organizer for the lawsuit invites other customers from other CA utilities including municipally run utilities whose health has been effected by smart meters or smart grid to join the lawsuit.  Ms. Barris can be reached via phone at 310-281-9639 or email at contact@thepeoplesinitiative.org.

Click here to download copies for the filed complaints.

Watch the below informative video on the lawsuit and some of the symptoms of health effects from the pulsed microwave radiation which smart meters and smart grid emit. Read below for Liz’s story on why she sued.

After having received hundreds of complaints of very serious heath effects from smart meters and smart grid, the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) deemed smart meters and smart grid to be perfectly harmless, made a concerted effort to ignore the health complaints from utility customers all suffering from smart meter/smart grid radiation exposure and allowed the utilities to proceed with wanton disregard for public health and safety. One of those complaining customers, Liz Barris, had to sleep in her car for 7 months due to the wireless meter making her apartment totally uninhabitable. Edison offered to remove the meter, but for a price…$4,000 a year extra, simply to have a safe analog meter on the house. In the Mafia this is known as extortion. Ms. Barris organized a mass torte lawsuit against the utility companies Edison and PG&E for health effects from smart meters/smart grid. Included in the suit are 15 other plaintiffs, most of whom have suffered even worse health effects from their smart meters than Ms. Barris. Please watch the below video to see if you might be experiencing any health effects which may be unbeknownst to you, directly attributable to your smart meter, your neighbors smart meter or the smart grid in your neighborhood.

ATTORNEY DAVID KYLE

Attorney David Kyle wanted the smart meter off his home because it was making his wife ill, forcing her to sleep in their car, away from the home and most importantly, away from the harmful smart meter.  Mr. Kyle BEAT SoCal Edison in Small Claims court and became the first Edison customer to achieve a FREE opt out of deadly smart meters – (Legal Documents).
The judge ordered Edison to pay damages or remove the meter and left it to Mr. Kyle to decide. He decided to get the smart meter the hell off his house. (Settlement Documents)

Privacy, Constitutional Violations, Security Risks–Kauai, Hawaii
Adam Asquith filed for a Federal Injunction against the instillation of smart meters (Court Filing DocumentsNews Story.
SUCCESS! The Utilities Company offered a settlement (Settlement Document) and agreed NOT to install a smart meter on the plaintiff’s property. (News report)

DISCRIMINATION Kauai, Hawaii
Mark Naea, a neighbor of Adam Asquith (who won his case against smart meters) filed a formal complaint (Legal Document) that he should not have to pay the court fees and file a separate case to get the opt-out option that was court awarded to his neighbor.
SUCCESS!!! The Public Utilities Commission ordered (Legal Document) Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) to address  his complaint.

HEALTH, SAFETY, PRIVACY, PROPERTY RIGHTS, CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATION, DISCRIMINATION — Maine
A legal complaint objecting to multiple aspects of smart meters. Overview
SUCCESS!! The court ruled that the Utilities company DID NOT adequately address health and safety concerns and now must do so. Bangor Daily News   Maine Public Broadcasting

HEALTH, CONSTITUTIONAL PRIVACY, SAFETY Portland
Complaint that the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) did not address safety, Constitutional Privacy and health concerns. (New Story on Outcome)
SUCCESS! The Supreme Judicial Court findings are that they did not properly address these problems (health and safety) and MUST do so. The Court not agree the Privacy concerns were not addressed.

CASES IN MOTION:

WRONGFUL DEATH DUE TO FIRE CAUSED BY SMART METER Vacaville, CA
On July 9, 2010, Larry Nikkel died in a fire believed to be caused by smart meter.

WIRELESS COMPONENT OVER SMART METERS
Smart Meters have been “mandated” in British Columbia, however Plaintiff contests that the wireless component is part of the mandate.(Press Release) (News story) (Formal Letter of Complaint – legal Document) (Letter of Complaint- scroll down)
Status: Appeal to be heard in October

HEALTH — Central California
Lawsuit filed against the CPUC (Central Public Utilities Commission) for ignoring evidence of harmful health effects of Smart Meters. (Latest updateLink on story
Status: Newly filed.

SPYING!
A top PG&E executive was caught spying and attempting to infiltrate a nonprofit to gather information about a forthcoming lawsuit. (Coverage of case) Curious and curiouser. (Legal Order to investigate)

HEALTH, SAFETY, MISREPRESENTATION OF RADIATION LEVELS, VIOLATION OF AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT — Northern California
Filed by an Electromagnetic consulting firm, Wilner and Associates, this Class Action Lawsuit list multiple ten grievances and is seeking $10,000 per customer who has experienced negative health effects. (Story) (Case Filing)

HEALTH, PRIVACY, HOMEOWNER’S RIGHTS, VIOLATION OF ILLINOIS “OPEN MEETINGS ACT” Napperville, Illinois
Residents have filed a federal lawsuit (News article) seeking an injunction to instillation (Court Documents)
Up to date info on the case
Status: Discovery phase of the case

Cases “Loss” (aka opportunity to learn so we win the next round)

MISUSE OF FEDERAL MONIES DUE TO FIRE RISK Alabama According to the lawsuit, the Don Baker, plaintiff, is an engineer and was an AMI smart grid project manager. He alleges the smart meters were not properly tested, and were seriously flawed. He found that the Sensus iConA had a “tendency to drastically overheat, and melt or burn”. He was asked to keep quiet and was eventually terminated for failing to do so. Status: The fire issue was not the focus of the case, it was misuse of Federal Funds.The District Attorney chose not to pursue the case, not based on the fire hazard claims, but claiming Federal Money was not misused. (case documents) OVERCHARGING Texas A class action lawsuit (Case documents) filed against Texan Utilities company Oncor. (News Story, Video)
Status: Case Dismissed (One analysis of why it failed)

(7/14) OVERCHARGING Bakersfield California
Initially an individual case alleging overcharging of smart meters (Initial Filing), this turned into a class action lawsuit (News report).
Status: Initially SUCCESS! Then overturned.emfsafetynetwork.org

The Peoples Initiative Foundation is a 501c3 non profit and has limitations on what it can and cannot do.  The above lawsuits are just reporting of the suits and NOT lawsuits that The Peoples Initiative Foundation are bringing. Many thanks to Seth Burton for his help in compilation of the above information.

Source: http://thepeoplesinitiative.org/lawsuits/

Smart Meters: Energy In, Privacy Out

Smart meters aren’t just a bad idea for consumers, they’re dangerous — and the Voluntary Code of Conduct for smart grid activities that the Department of Energy released on January 12th, 2015 will do little to assuage concerns about data security and consumer privacy.

And it’s not just consumers who are worried — in a submittal filed with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities on January 17, Northeast Utilities (the largest utility system in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire) had this to say about smart meter security: “Without resolution of the [issues related to] cyber-security, it is not possible…to develop a suitable [smart meter implementation plan]. [Smart meters] introduce a brand new portal into the Companies’ information systems, significantly increasing the cyber-security risk.”

Past surveys of U.S. utilities have shown that cyberattacks are a constant threat, endangering national grid systems. It has also been reported that China, Russia and Iran have initiated cyber probes of U.S. electrical grids though, in their own interest, many utilities have shied away from clarifying the specifics of these intrusions. However, as noted in this congressional report, one utility company did admit that it was the target of some 10,000 cyber attacks each month, and another power provider located in the northeastern U.S. reported being “under constant cyber attack from cyber criminals, including malware and a general threat from the Internet.”

Beyond national security concerns, these meters open a new portal into every American home. Energy usage data could allow for a reconstructed report of nearly all activities occurring within. Even without “smart” transmitting appliances, power providers can determine which specific appliances a consumer used, and for how long. There has even been talk of utilities eventually having the ability to control major household appliances remotely, or imposing limitations on the freedom to use one’s own devices.

With the touted benefit of definitive energy savings yet to appear, and the clear threat presented to national energy infrastructure, the privacy issues raised by the constant two-way communication between your home and outside entities makes them difficult to justify. Still, the march by the utilities and the government is well underway, with scores of new smart meters introduced daily into American homes.

Approximately 65 million smart meters are expected to be installed by the end of 2015, which will account for over one third of all electricity customers in the nation. With electricity being one of our most fundamental necessities, it’s surprising how little attention has been given to the fact that a breakdown in the system could be catastrophic — or that these devices open an entirely new window for cyber attacks, remote or otherwise.

It has been more than a few years since the introduction of the “smart meter” to U.S. markets. In December 2007, Congress passed, and the president approved, Title XIII of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), resulting in the US Department of Energy receiving full legislative support for all smart grid activities, including the national implementation of smart meters. It wasn’t until January 12th, 2015, though, that the Department of Energy released their aforementioned Code of Conduct, (which is completely voluntary), and consumers fear this action is too little, far too late.

The utilities have jumped behind the guidelines laid out in the DOE’s Voluntary Code of Conduct, with the American Public Power Association writing, “a clearly established and publicly available policy will mitigate at least some customer concerns about smart meters in general, and will help clear the way for wider acceptance of smart meter implementation.” But considering the voluntary nature of the guidelines, and the clear goal of using the Code’s release to further speed adoption, this is hardly a meaningful advance in consumer privacy protection.

Smart meters are also known to generate low frequency radio emissions, similar to those emitted by cell phones and wi-fi routers. While the exposure to these frequency waves is believed to be low, concerns over possible health issues caused by increased emissions have been raised by consumers. Several class action lawsuits have been filed by those claiming to have been harmed by the electromagnetic fields smart meters create, and in October 2013 the American Academy of Environmental Medicine restated their call for a moratorium on smart meter installation, saying new scientific evidence “clearly demonstrates adverse health effects in the human population from smart meter emissions.”

According to a report recently published by Clean Technica, total worldwide spending on “smart” grid technologies will total $11.2 billion from 2014 to 2023. With the public just coming to realize the privacy-invading capabilities of smart meter technology, there may be little chance of reversing this disconcerting trend.

Source: http://dailycaller.com/2015/01/23/smart-meters-energy-in-privacy-out/2/