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Smart Meters are now Big Brother

Smart meters

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(NaturalNews) There has been a great deal of news over the past few years about how the federal government is increasingly spying on the American people, especially via the National Security Agency and the FBI. But it is becoming increasingly apparent that Americans' privacy is being invaded more frequently, and on a wider scale, by private industry.

Consider just some of the latest technology to hit the market and you can see that we Americans are being watched, monitored, measured and profiled 24 hours a day, seven days a week - and in many ways, we're helping the process:

"Smart" meters

In recent days, California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered residents of the drought-stricken state to cut water usage by as much as 25 percent. It wasn't a recommendation, per se; officials are serious about implementing it.

As reported by CBS Los Angeles, state and local officials are going after "water wasters" through the installation of "smart meters" that gauge water use and report it back to water authorities, wirelessly.

"It collects the data every five minutes, then after midnight, the cellphone that's built in here comes on, makes one call, and calls it in to the database that we and the customer, through a password security system, have online access to their consumption," Long Beach Water Department General Manager Kevin Wattier told the local affiliate. "The accuracy is just incredible, because we get the data the next day."

In February, when water smart meters were installed around the city, Wattier used the data to catch the owners of local McDonalds restaurant who were said to be over-watering the lawn there.

Wattier went onto say he believes smart meters will increasingly be used to measure water usage at both homes and businesses throughout Southern California. But no one is talking about getting rid of them once the drought subsides.

Location-trackers for automobiles

Hyped as a way for parents to "virtually" follow their kids (to make sure they go where they say they are going, for instance) there is a bevy of new tracking technology on the market today. Beginning as early as 2006, driver tracking of children has grown in popularity (unfortunately).

"New gadgets can let parents know every time their children drive too fast or visit someone they shouldn't," says an NPR story on the subject.

And while it may sound like a good idea, the problem is that we're raising our children to accept living in a society in which every move they make is monitored by someone or something - all the while telling them that they have a "Fourth Amendment right to privacy."

Technology is also being used to track drivers for the purposes of paying highway tolls, and to monitor speeds.

"The Internet of things"

Even our home appliances, like our televisions, are being used to track our activities. As we have reported, the "Internet of things" is a concept in which home appliances are linked together wirelessly into systems that can be monitored, hacked or altered.

Social media

Do you Facebook? Use Google+ forums? Text? Own a smart phone? If so, you are being monitored, both by the social media companies themselves and and by government entities.

In more ways than we can even imagine, corporations are becoming Big Brother - not just government.






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