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How Much Privacy Is There in a Connected-Asset Home?

A recent White House report on big data wonders aloud about the capability of sensors and smart meters to turn homes into fish tanks, completely transparent to marketers, police and criminals.

Smart meters with non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) technology, which can analyze individual power loads, make it possible to know what you are doing and using in your home.

These systems can "show when you move about your house," said the White House, in its just released report on the privacy implications of big data. The report explores both the benefits and perils created by these new systems, including ubiquitous deployment of sensors in the Internet of Things.

The White House concern about privacy in the home is based, in part, on research by Stephen Wicker, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University and a co-author of studies that have looked at some of the implications of "demand-response systems," or smart meters.

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