Paper – Privacy in a Smart grids environment – Insights from ubiquitous computing – outline

This is a paper I am working on ..if anyone has any insights or wants to contribute to the interview, happy to speak (ajit.jaokar at This is a very complex topic due to multiple areas it affects. So good fun to work with :)


Machine to machine(M2M) communications and sensor networks have been on the research agenda for many years, but today Smart Grids provide a new impetus to M2M and a ‘killer application’ to make M2M commercially feasible. A smart grid starts with a ‘Smart electricity meter’ which is capable of two way communications and lets the user and provider manage electricity consumption in a more granular way. If the customer’s power consumption can be captured in a granular manner, the provider can manage the creation, consumption and distribution of Electricity throughout the value chain. The added potential of Smart grids arises from knowing data trends and also extend power management to other devices. Thus, Smart grids are ‘smart’ because of their near ‘real time’ potential to manage energy usage by recording data consumptions in intervals as low as half hourly readings. .


Smart Grids are an emerging topic of study and research. They are complex since their study spans multiple domains which are converging – for instance Energy (Utilities), Telecommunications, Web services among others. This study/paper is concerned with the Privacy implications of Smart Grids. We start with discussing the conceptual framework of Smart Grids created by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) . We then discuss identify some of the initial privacy problems which are identified as a part of the NIST study. Based on this initial framework, we look back at research in various related domains and extrapolate the issues discussed in those domains to the problems of Smart Grids and Privacy. These areas include – Ubiquitous computing(Technologies like RFID, Mobile networks, Sensor networks, Context aware systems, Pervasive Sensor Networks, Mobile Ad-Hoc networks); Privacy (Trust, Reputation, Distributed trust models, Privacy management frameworks, Revocation, Anonymity and Pseudo anonymity, Authentication, Leakage of Personally Identifiable Information, Transparency, Youth and Privacy, Risk models), Social Networking, Semantic Web, Web 2.0, Peer to Peer computing and others.

The objective of this paper is to learn from other domains and to apply those learnings to Privacy and Smart Grids. In doing so, we can bring new insights to existing Smart grid Privacy issues but we could also identify new areas for Privacy and Smart Grids. The study is also based on actual interviews conducted with professionals in this space.

If you are doing similar work, or are interested in knowing more, please email me at ajit.jaokar at