The camel sticks his nose under the tent

“Google, Amazon Seek Foothold in Electricity as Home Automation Grows,” The Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2019. “… [T]hey are seeking ways to expand their smart speakers, internet-connected thermostats and other devices to harness information on consumers’ personal energy use. That data holds great power; it can be used to manage energy demand by incentivizing consumers to use less electricity during peak hours.”

And they will never use that data (whose data is it?) against us.  At least until they can find a way to sell or rent it back to us (or to an advertiser who wants to install energy-efficient storm windows) or maybe to the government, to find out who’s using more than their fair share.  Or whatever.

Clearly this involves Information, and who owns it and who can profit from its use.  Is there an aspect of Governance, in the sense of what rules exist to limit the use and abuse of the this data?  Would European-style privacy laws restrict this “harnessing” by two fledgling monopolists, who might otherwise extend their reach too far?

Google says, “If we can make, collectively, a lot of small changes across a large number of people, that has a large benefit to power providers, the grid, the environment and the consumer.” And maybe Google might get a few bucks out of it, too.


Leave a comment

Filed under Theme One: Information, Theme Two: Governance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s