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Smart meters reveal TV viewing habits
Researchers at the Münster University of Applied Sciences have discovered that it is possible to use electricity usage data from smart electricity meters to determine which programmes consumers are watching on a standard TV set. The experiments were carried out as part of the state-funded DaPriM (data privacy management) project. By analysing electricity consumption patterns, it is, in principle, also possible to identify films played from a DVD or other source.
From the comments at slashdot
First you are not going to get second by second readings from your standard L&G or Itron meter. The back haul doesn't have the bandwidth and even if you had a second broadband ESI (energy service interface) in your home there are a few technical hurdles preventing 1 second granularity (2.5 seconds is the fastest that I've seen and not sustained).
This looks like a proof of concept. Using a customized smart meter and ideal test conditions they could correlate the second by second fluctuations in power consumption with what you are viewing on a typical household LCD television. Five years from now they will know what you're watching before you turn on the set. Where's my tinfoil hat...
 

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I used to date a girl who happened to be a "Nielsen TV family" with a box hooked up to her TV. She'd go to work every day with the TV left on and tuned to a certain channel because her best friend was a HUGE fan of some particular soap opera and wanted it to get good ratings so it would stay on the air. So the Nielsens for that show indicated thousands, maybe tens or hundreds of thousands of viewers who never existed. Pretty funny.
 

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