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It Fries Your Brain and Reads Your Mind

What the RFID industry can learn from the protest against electric meters.
By Kevin Ashton
Dec 10, 2012In the past few years, people have been getting very excited about electric meters. The reason? Electric utilities are replacing their manual meters, which have rotary numbers like the odometers in old cars, with smart meters that have built-in radios. The radios communicate with the electric companies, most often over ZigBee-based mesh networks.

The technology's supporters include electric companies, meter makers and ZigBee radio manufacturers. The new devices save money for the utilities, which no longer have to pay meter readers to visit each customer's house. And the smart meter and ZigBee manufacturers get to sell stuff to the utilities.

Opponents include a worldwide quilt of consumer coalitions desperate to stop the use of electric meters. Google "smart meter" and you will find them quickly. Their major complaints revolve around issues of safety and privacy.

When it comes to safety, the concern is that smart meters emit radiation that can cause cancer. Professes one online commenter: "Smart meters transmit radiation every few seconds all day long, which adds up to hundreds of times more radiation exposure—even at many feet away—than that of cell phones. Children, pregnant women, seniors, people with immune deficiencies and people with medical implants are especially at risk. Also pets and plants."

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