CategoriesFlorida Law Review ForumForumPrivacy Law
Response to Matthew B. Kugler & Meredith Hurley, Protecting Energy Privacy Across the Public/Private Divide
Smart utility meters raise several puzzling legal questions and answering them can help point the way toward the future of Fourth Amendment and civil privacy law. More than any other current technology, smart meters compel the development of use restrictions on collected data. The benefits of smart meters are potentially enormous, such that categorically prohibiting public utilities from collecting smart meter data is likely beyond the pale. Yet allowing law enforcement agents to obtain such intimate data about the home without a warrant seems equally unacceptable. Smart meters are currently the clearest example of the need for robust restrictions on how the government can use data it has collected. Government entities are already collecting detailed personal information about citizens for a variety of legitimate, non-law enforcement purposes. Limiting access to such data will often be the best practical means to ensure citizen privacy in the era of big data.
This Response expands on two issues: use restrictions on collected data, and voluntary data disclosure. Professor Matthew Kugler and Meredith Hurley’s sophisticated analysis of smart meter privacy provides a valuable roadmap for scholars and lawmakers as they confront the novel questions posed by smart meters. This Response seeks to expand on Kugler and Hurley’s analysis of use restrictions and to reimagine their approach to voluntary data disclosure.