It's the VIRTUAL part I don't trust
QUOTE: "This information is useful to energy suppliers but it is also potentially valuable to a whole host of other organisations too." SUCH as thieves and Second-Storey men?
I have a modern TaiWan made motor-scooter which is heavily endowed with electronics including a magnificent electronic dash. The travelled kilometres are stored in this module in allegedly non-volatile memory.
I say allegedly because the distance travelled display (what do you call a meter that records kilometres?) has failed three times in 30,000 kilometres.
Fortunately, I log my daily usage for expenses so I am aware within 5 kilometres what the distance should be.
These new 'smartmeters', at least the one I took apart, were all electronic, no moving parts. This means that the only record exists within the computers of the power company which is akin to giving a fox the key-card to the hen house. If they don't trust us, why should we trust them?
At least with meters with a mechanical component there is an opportunity to recover data independently.
Your article reported that the German investigators detected a reading every two seconds and since every 24 hours = 86 400 seconds it equates to 43,200 data bursts each day. In a MESH network, with repeater or re-transmission options activated that equates too one hell of a lot of RF transmissions, likely continuous. This is way higher than TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) system for communications used by Plod, et al.
I, too, wonder what happened to the opt in / out and suppliers pay discussion. It sounds as wishy-washy as any other Cameron policy.