So this time it's the smart grid privacy concerns!
Privacy concerns are valid and affect each one of us knowingly or unintentionally. Internet search engines can track minute details of a user behavior and smart phone applications can track real-time physical location of their subscribers. Social networking sites allow us to post our personal details to share with a few friends but it can profile the users based on their web-behavior and this information is in great demand for targeted advertising!
Customers have a choice; either completely isolate themselves from sharing personal information or take the risk and trust the service providers that the personal information may not be compromised. On the other hand service providers shoulder the huge responsibility of not betraying this trust. With Smart Grid, individual behavior can be monitored 24x7 based on the flow of energy into a home. This time the exposure is higher and also camouflaged, compared to voluntary data sharing on internet or owning a smart mobile device.
"Privacy by Design" or "Embedded Privacy" are good ideas but require tremendous political will to be fully implemented. There is a need to create legal frameworks around collection, application and destruction of personal information, and with data being received at the rate of exabytes per hour, how this framework can be applied will remain a challenge in coming days.
However as smart grid rolls out from AMR to Plug-in Hybrids, privacy concerns need to be addressed while building data governance frameworks at individual projects as well as enterprise wide level.
Also, there could be several technology solutions for handling data privacy at each stage; one of them happens to be the Infosys MaskIT. Static or Dynamic data can be masked at source (meters, appliances, plug-in cars, billing engines) and be read only by specific applications necessary for business decision making for a Utility.
This solution has been successfully implemented for Banking/Finance industry and can be leveraged for the smart utilities.