Toward Technological Defenses Against Load Monitoring Techniques

Nicol, T., Overbye, T. J.

North American Power Symposium, pp.1,5, 26-28 Sept. 2010.

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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 only requires information about the overall power draw over a period of time, any such source of 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 - and do nothing to prevent abuse by the utility itself, or the surreptitious installation of a monitoring device outside of a residence, place of business, embassy, etc. Therefore, there is a need to develop more effective means of protection from such “non-intrusive” intrusions and remove personally revealing information from the power signal altogether.

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