Privacy Protection Through Limited Load Signal Distortion
Advanced techniques of Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring (NILM) can provide power consumers with opportunities to easily and accurately track their own energy usage. However, as with any other powerful technology, there is a darker side to NILM. Since detailed monitoring requires only information about the overall power draw over a period of time, sources of such information could be used for any number of purposes. While some legal protections exist for personal information reported to a utility, and digital defenses make it difficult for unauthorized parties to obtain meter data, such measures are not infallible. They do nothing to prevent abuse by the utility itself or the surreptitious installation of a monitoring device outside a residence, place of business, embassy, etc. Therefore, a method to reduce the ability of attackers to deduce private information from an observed power signal is proposed, using some knowledge of the loads being hidden to offset identifiable load signatures in the signal for maximum ambiguity.
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