As smart metering expands, so does tinfoil hat population

It had to happen eventually: smart meters have rolled out in such large numbers around the world that the movement opposing them has taken on global dimensions as well.

Just do a Google search for “smart meters” and observe how many of the page one, top-10 results are anti-meter. StopSmartMeters! SmartMeterDangers. RefuseSmartMeters. The list goes on and on.

Other, more general-interest websites take on the topic of smart meters with equal apocalyptic fervor. “The new silent killer,” declares one site. “No more privacy” and “the end of the American dream,” warns another. “Stop the Invasion!” shrieks a third.

It seems that, while a silent majority accepts its newly installed smart meters as just another updated piece of marketplace technology — no more threatening than, say, a smartphone or an iPad — familiarity does in fact breed contempt among a continually vocal minority.

The excellent resource Meterpedia, in fact, has collected and posted some of the more outrageous rants against advanced metering systems in a section it calls “Smart Meters are Evil.” Some of the highlights (or lowlights, if you will):

  • “Covered mine with aluminum foil to try to get some relief and JUST TOUCHING IT made me ill for three days …”
  • “This is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard of. It is enough to kill off all life on earth.”
  • “No country on Earth is replacing their WIRED system with a WIRELESS system. That would be the equivalent of removing sewer pipes and allowing raw sewage to flow through people’s homes and down the streets to save the cost of maintaining and replacing sewer pipes.”
  • “The national electricity grid suppies (sic) power to every appliance being used doesn’t it? if they linked in the computer to the national grid, it’s capable of sending billions of individually encoded digital messages to your smart meter … and then onto the appliance, where it makes noises that are affecting your thinking. Then you become mentally unwell, you get involved with psychiatrists, who set about MURDERING you, with medication, if they can’t get you to conceed (sic).”

Unfortunately, such over-the-top, unreasoning opposition tends to put anyone with legitimate questions about the technology into the “crazy” camp. Even very smart people in the smart metering industry are discussing concerns about security and privacy, and looking for workable solutions. But it’s hard to have discussions like that with someone wearing a tinfoil hat.

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