Friday, December 30, 2011

Homeland Security Allegedly Establishes Key Word Search Watchlist on Social Networks

Whenever I read an article that seemingly confirms my suspicions in the world around me, it is not usually a surprise. In this case, a privacy watchdog group (The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)) has sued the government and in its complaint it is alleged that the DHS has a watchlist on Facebook and Twitter for people who search certain words and/or terms. Say "collapse" or "infection" and you just might end up on this watchlist. Considering the history of coverage on Remixx World! with the H1N1 infection and the alleged 2009 bank run collapse, I am quite sure the DHS has this site tracked, traced and databased!

As part of the initiative, the agency [DHS] would "establish [fictitious] usernames and passwords" to spy on users and record their activities based on a number of search terms, including "human to animal," "collapse," "outbreak," and "illegal immigrants," the complaint says.

Source: Courthouse News Service

Pacific Gas & Electric Company Agrees to Let Customers Keep Analog, Mechanical Utility Meters

I don't really have to much to say about this decision by PG&E to allow its customers to keep their analog meters, except to say that I agree with it. I don't like the SmartMeter™ technology, because it makes it too easy for some centralized authority to track, trace and database my detailed energy use. Nevertheless, if I want futuristic Jetsons technology in my home, then I will probably have to accept SmartMeters™ at some point. However, I am not at that point yet, so I applaud this decision by PG&E!


PG&E Supports Giving Customers Who Opt-Out of SmartMeter™ The Choice of Using Analog, Mechanical Meters Utility Further Addresses Customer Concerns Over Wireless Technology

Release Date: December 19, 2011

Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – To provide customers who have concerns about wireless SmartMeter™ technology with alternative options for recording their energy use, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today asked the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to give customers a choice to use traditional analog, mechanical meters. This request offers another customer option in addition to the utility's proposal last March to turn off the radios in its opt-out customers' SmartMeters™.

"Some customers remain concerned about SmartMeter™ technology and want alternatives," said Helen Burt, PG&E's Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. "Through comments to us and the CPUC, they are clear that an analog meter is the option they prefer to address their unease with wireless technology."

PG&E is installing digital, wireless SmartMeters™ throughout its service area in Northern and Central California as part of a statewide program to enhance the safety, reliability, and affordability of its gas and electric services. Similar metering programs are now underway at utilities throughout the country and around the world. To date, PG&E has installed nearly nine million gas and electric SmartMeters™.

Independent studies repeatedly have affirmed the safety and accuracy of SmartMeters™. However, in response to comments from some customers, PG&E last March proposed offering them a choice to turn off the radios in their SmartMeters™. The utility also provided customers with the option to delay the installation of new SmartMeters™ until the CPUC approves a way to opt-out of the program. Now, in response to further customer feedback, PG&E today asked the CPUC to approve analog meters as an additional alternative to receiving a SmartMeter™.

Burt added, "Personal choice is important to our customers. In response to their requests, we are asking the Commission to approve an option for customers to receive analog meters."

The CPUC is expected to issue its SmartMeter™ opt-out decision soon. That decision will likely ask customers who opt-out of the program to pay an initial fee and some reasonable monthly charge to cover the costs of manual meter reading and other associated operational and billing issues.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit: