The Pirates of Privacy – Can they Crack the Smart Grid?

The Vermont chapter of American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the privacy issue of Vermont’s new Smart Grid. The following highlight is the ACLU-VT e-update on VT legislation S.78 – The Advancement of Technological Infrastructure in Vermont.

“Smart Meter” Privacy Threats Highlighted

S. 78, a technology infrastructure bill, envisions big changes in the way Vermonters access the Internet, make calls, and use electricity. It’s the build-out of a “smart grid” by electric utilities that raises significant privacy issues. In a smart grid, there are “smart meters” in everyone’s home, to monitor and hopefully moderate electricity use. The meters record exactly how much electricity is being used by which appliances when — and transmit the data to utility headquarters for monitoring and analysis. The ACLU is worried about the collection of energy use data, and who will have access to it. As we found with cell phone tracking data, police often want access to databases with information about individuals’ whereabouts or activities. We want to make sure police have a warrant before any smart meter data is turned over. We will follow this issue through the utility regulatory process.

Link – http://www.acluvt.org/news/legislative_2011/e-update_5-12-11.htm#LETTER.BLOCK25

One of the contradictions in the privacy issue of this “debate” is whether or not Smart Meters will specify the appliance being used. Why would GMP Spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure have “stressed that the smart meters do not give the companies any additional information on what appliances are using the power.” if they do?
 
The White House released A POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR THE 21st CENTURY GRID: Enabling Our Secure Energy Future this June. Section 5.4 Data Privacy on Page 46 does not set a regulations on handling such data, it states,
“energy usage data likely does not fall within the scope of existing, sector-specific Federal privacy statutes”
Then it lays out the “shoulds, likeliness and considerations” of the various potential state and private sector abilities to protect this information, then stating that the administration has called on congress to pass a “consumer privacy bill of rights”… Even if congress passes such legislation I believe the Patriot Act effectively usurps it. The privacy issue is the least of my concerns with the Smart Grid, though it is a valid concern.

My #1 concern is the non-thermal effects of Radio Frequency technology that have NO regulation. FCC regulations only address the Thermal effects of RF tech. W.H.O. recently rescheduled RF tech as possibly cancer causing, we need more research to ensure that this is a Safe upgrade of our grid. Here is a page with many testimonies of people living with the effects of RF Tech –http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=2292

Vermont has received $70 Million in federal funding for installing the Smart Grid… According to Title XIII of EISA SEC. 1306, we will only be reimbursed 20% of the cost of the “qualifying” expenses of the Smart Grid by federal monies. That means we will be required to “Change our Behavior” of energy use to “save” money to pay off the leftover 80%. It is the ONLY way “Smart” Grid saves money, by informing us of our energy use so we can shift some of our “peak usage” to non-peakusage hours. We MIGHT save money if we change our usage, but this “upgrade” won’t save energy, None! How many years or decades of changing our energy usage will it take to pay off the Smart Grid?

Is “Moratorium” just a word? Or do they actually exist? 

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Free Survival Workshop – Hardwick VT – UPDATED

 

This will be the first of its kind. These free workshops/classes are center on building a SID (Subterranean, Indigenous, Domicile) and includes many other aspects of survival.

 

This first SID uses both conventional and indigenous building techniques and starts Aug 27 (weekends only) and goes to Oct 24 (end date not set yet).

 

The everyday purpose of this first SID will be used as a root cellar and used for survival when needed. All SIDs will have more then one use thereby making them very efficient.

 

These underground structures are free or very cheap to build and will protect you and your family from almost anything. They are invisible from above ground, safe, dry and warm.

 

The workshops/classes will take place only on weekends (Friday through Monday afternoon) rain or shine. Closer to the start date a schedule will be available for those interested in attending.

 

Check our Calendar after Aug 22th:

 

https://sites.google.com/site/2016lifegroups/events/calendar

 

 See what you’re interested in and register with us by emailing:

 

 becomealivenow@gmail.com

 

 More info – http://transitionvermont.ning.com/events/free-survival-workshop

 

Big Article on Labeling GMO Foods!

Monsanto’s Achilles Heel    –    By RONNIE CUMMINS     July 29 – 31, 2011

The Achilles heel of Monsanto and the biotech industry is consumers’ right to know…

In the EU there are almost no genetically engineered crops under cultivation or GE consumer food products on supermarket shelves. And why is this? Not because GE crops are automatically banned in Europe. But rather because under EU law, all foods containing genetically engineered ingredients must be labeled….

If Vermont passes a state labeling law though its legislature in 2011, or California voters put a GMO labeling initiative on the ballot in 2012 and pass it, the biotech and food industry will face an intractable dilemma. Will they dare put labels on their branded food products in just one or two states, admitting these products contain genetically engineered ingredients, while still withholding label information in the other states? The answer is very likely no. Withholding important and controversial information in some states, while providing it to consumers in other states, would be a public relations disaster.

A clear precedent for this situation was established in California in 1986 when voters passed, over the strenuous opposition of industry, a ballot initiative called Proposition 65, which required consumer products with potential cancer-causing ingredient to bear warning labels. Rather than label their products sold in California as likely carcinogenic, most companies reformulated their product ingredients so as to avoid warning labels altogether, and they did this on a national scale, not just in California.

This same scenario will likely unfold if California voters pass a ballot initiative in 2012 requiring labels on food containing genetically engineered ingredients. Can you imagine Kellogg’s selling Corn Flakes breakfast cereal in California with a label that admits it contains genetically engineered corn? Or labeling their corn flakes as GE in California, but not divulging this same fact to consumers in the other 49 states or Canada? Of course not. How about Kraft Boca Burgers admitting that their soybean ingredients are genetically modified? How about the entire non-organic food industry (including many so-called “natural” brands) admitting that 75% of their products are GE-tainted?

Once food manufacturers and supermarkets are forced to come clean and label genetically engineered products, they will likely remove all GE ingredients, to avoid the “skull and crossbones” effect, just like the food industry in the EU has done. In the wake of this development American farmers will convert millions of acres of GE crops to non-GMO or organic varieties.

The biotechnocrats and their allies have indeed used their vast resources to buy off Congress, the White House, and most state legislatures with campaign contributions. Monsanto, DuPont, and other corporate giants have used their enormous clout to send their lawyers and scientists through the revolving door into jobs as government regulators. Biotech’s financial power has polluted state and federal governments, along with trade associations, universities, research institutions, philanthropic organizations, and media outlets.

But there are two things Monsanto’s money can’t buy: Our trust, and our votes.

Polls Show Consumers Overwhelmingly Support GE Food Labels…

Read the whole Article – http://www.counterpunch.org/cummins07292011.html

To support or join up with the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign, go to:http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/

Ronnie Cummins is the International Director of the Organic Consumers Association.

Where is the GMO Labeling in Vermont? Shopper’s guide to non-GMO Foods

Embedded Below is a comprehensive list (by category of food type) of Brands that are GMO Free. It also includes brands that may have GMO ingredients. Save it, Print it, Share it.

GMO Free Shoppers-Guide

Search – Verifier Non-GMO Products

Vermont’s GMO Labeling legislation:

Excerpt from: House Bill 367

LABELING GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD

“Genetically engineered ingredient” means a component of a larger substance meant for human or animal consumption that has been produced according to procedures described in subdivision (1) of this section

Genetically engineered food or food products that contain one or more genetically engineered ingredients and are offered for sale within the state shall be labeled as follows:

food sold in packaged form shall be identified as genetically engineered food by bearing a conspicuous label on the package that lists all genetically engineered ingredients therein; or (2) food sold in unpackaged form shall be conspicuously identified as genetically engineered food by placing a notation that is visible and easily identifiable by a consumer in close proximity to the displayed product, or by issuing a verbal disclosure to consumers when a notation is not feasible.

PENALTIES

MISBRANDED FOOD

If it is a genetically engineered food or a food product containing one or more genetically engineered ingredients as defined in V.S.A. § 5701 and is not labeled in compliance with chapter 151 of Title 9. Sec. 3.

EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on July 1, 2011. 

(emphasis added)

Link to the Bill – http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2012/bills/Intro/H-367.pdf

60 Million Dollars of Presumption on Preemption

Donald M. Kreis, attorney and professor at the Vermont Law School said “I flat out predict that they [Entergy] will, in fact, order their fuel rods” and keep the plant running past 2012,

Quote from VT DIGGER article analyzing the injunction

An end quote in the embedded “News Report” below on Vermont Yankee re-fueling:

They’ll be missed if they give up.

Really?…. this is the objective news informing the people? … VY didn’t “give up” after loosing the injunction hearing, (which would have allowed them to keep the plant open during the proceedings of the Entergy vs Vermont case.) they decided to spend $60 million to refuel the plant this October, despite the uncertainty that the operational relicensing is lawful.

Take action – https://vermont4evolution.wordpress.com/human-rights/take-action-vermont-yankee/

Vermont Yankee Propaganda


Rural Vermont Update July 22

As many of us know, consumer interest in healthy, natural or organic foods is growing. As a result, many food companies are selling “All Natural” products which are priced higher than similar products despite the fact that they may be filled with SYNTHETIC and GENETICALLY ENGINEERED (GE) ingredients.

Relevant studies and data indicate that consumers are more likely to purchase products that prominently display the words “All Natural” on the front of food packages, despite the fact that the “All Natural” claim may be misleading at best, and fraudulent at worst.

Pinnacle Foods Group, LLC, which is selling its Log Cabin brand “All Natural” syrup in Vermont, is one such company using an “All Natural” labeling claim to win over consumers.  Log Cabin brand “All Natural” syrup contains synthetic ingredients. 

While Vermont farmers spend hundreds of hours boiling sap to make truly “All Natural” Vermont Maple Syrup, they are loosing out to brands like Log Cabin who package and label syrup “All Natural” so as to appear like real Vermont Maple Syrup despite synthetic ingredients.

Rural Vermont and  Law for Food are looking for individuals who have purchased Log Cabin brand “All Natural” syrup in the last few years. If you have purchased this product believing it to be “All Natural” and not to contain genetically engineered or synthetic ingredients, please contact us at  jared@ruralvermont.org or kenneth@lawforfood.com right away as we may be able to address this failure on the part of large corporations like Pinnacle Foods to properly label their products.

Allegedly “All Natural” products often mislead consumers about healthy food choices and cause them to purchase products they wouldn’t otherwise buy.  In addition, these often misleading tactics harm Vermont farmers who produce truly “All Natural” and non-GE products because they are forced to compete with multi-national corporations and their industrial scale marketing tactics.

Vermont Farmers and Vermont Consumers deserve better. Please act now and let us know if you or anyone you know has purchased “All Natural” Log Cabin Syrup.

Best, Jared

P.S. Check out our website at www.ruralvermont.org for info, on our great fall internship opportunities! As well as a the calendar of events.