18 votes

Liberty MUST embrace technology and science or we WILL lose this fight.

Liberty MUST embrace technology. It's only a tool, it's not evil.

A growing majority of the liberty movement is denouncing technology as evil and refuses to participate under the notion that it's inherently evil. This is dangerous thinking and only helps the powers that be.

Technology is only a tool and serves to amplify one's potential. Calling tech evil serves to mentally blockade yourself from engaging in it's powers. To be ignorant of technology means "they" have the upper hand by default and you can't win a fight if you don't understand the battlefield.

If the liberty community hopes to win the long fight then we must embrace technology or we WILL lose this fight. IF we fail to utilize tech then the disparity of amplifying power will only grow larger and larger as time goes on, in favor of "evil".

There is an expression, "Old World Blues" which I think many in the liberty movement suffers from. It refers to those so obsessed with the past they can't see the present, much less the future, for what it is. They stare into the what-was, eyes like a dying flame, hopeless and lost, as the realities of their world continue on around them. Feeling powerless to stop it because they are ignorant of technology and the power it brings.

It can be easy to see Science as evil, technology unchecked as the source of all ills, all misfortunes. With the liberty movement at the helm of Science, liberty and freedom can become a beacon for the future. If we reject technology and science then we lose everything because we fail to take control of our future...

WE must get with the times and use technology to amplify our message before all is lost. I'm calling on you revolutionaries to rid yourself of the old world blues and embrace the future so you can control your future..

edit for clarity
When I say embrace tech, I don't mean using it or even liking tech.

What I'm saying is we need to become knowledgeable about technology(especially the newest sciences) so we understand what we can use it for to further our message AND to understand the how tech is being used agianst us by the "other side".

An example being you must first understand how the bank system works before you can reform the system by attacking its faults and learning from it's positive traits.. If one just rejects banking as evil without first understanding how it works, then they can't convincingly explain its faults to enact change. Can't just scream BURN IT DOWN without saying why.

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My biggest critism of the libety movement and libertarianism

in general is its inability (ignorance or refusal) to square itself with the Evolutionary sciences, particularly sociobiology. The irony being that these sciences are arriving at the doorstep of a libertarian worldview!

Yes, some of these scientists such as Gould & Dawkins are aghast when the reach the end implications of their work and that 'forced altruism' (ie socialism) is found to be not a good thing, but some scientists such as Dr. Steven Pinker (The Blank State & The Better Angels of Our Nature) and Dr. Paul Rubin (Darwinian Politics) are busy connecting the social science dots to the political science dots in a seamless thread, as it should be.

In fact there is a whole body of work out there that we in the liberty movement SHOULD be reading. If anyone is interested, just let me know.

Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
Buy it Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/05211820

Chemophobia and technophobia

My biggest criticism of the liberty movement, by far, is the pseudoscience that is ubiquitous.

One does not have to be a contrarian to science to be ethical.

The Premise is Completely False

Opposing an oppressive "Big Brother" surveillance-state or a centrally-controlled banking-system does not make one opposed to technology or science. This is a form of the "false dilemma" or "bifurcation" fallacy. You are essentially arguing the following "anyone opposed to technology being used for evil must be opposed to the technology".

Allow me to discredit your one example. Liberty supporters are not opposed to honest banking. They are opposed to the privately owned Federal reserve bank being given a government monopoly on the printing of fiat-currency. This is then used by Wall-Street firms (the legal shareholders of the Federal reserve bank) and the Federal government to increase the money supply and rob individual citizens of their legally earned savings.

Our desire to "End the Fed" has to do with the way that institution is being used for corrupt purposes. It is not an attack on science or technology.

Right on point.

Technology is neutral politically. It is simply knowledge applied to resources (which uses them up more rapidly in most cases). For most of human history we walked around on bountiful resources without the knowledge of how to acquire and use them. We developed the knowledge and look at the improvement in our standard of living. Of course when resources dwindle so will technology because then we will only have half of the equation, knowledge, which will then itself die from lack of use.

The problem is misuse of technology by those who prefer subjugation to freedom; after all, serfdom is beneficial to the ruling aristocracy, and technology can help to keep them in power.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

Dead on. Here's some relevant examples

For some reason, libertarians seen to mostly believe that climate change, global warming and other fossil fuel derived problems are all made up. They fail to see that regardless of that answer, the fossil fuel industries (coal, gas, oil) are keeping the world dependent on their cocaine just for more profits. In doing so, they've created the military industrial complex (or at least vastly expanded it) to fight wars to oppress other countries just to keep this rouse going. None of it would be necessary if we would simply stop using them. But because they have this boogie-man (real or not) agenda 21 fear, they are convinced that we must keep using fossil fuels. It's really almost like stockholmes syndrome. If we could get past the fear mongering (FROM THE LIBERTARIANS), we could hash out an honest discussion of how to go the other way and do so without fostering any agenda 21 crap.

Also because of the A21 fear, we can't get smart meters out of the 'evil' category. I've outlined how they are not any new threat and also how they ultimately offer us an easy way to inject a free market to our energy needs and how that ultimately leads to individual energy independence. Unfortunately, no one seems to want to listen past the words, "smart meter".

Also, libertarians seem to me to want nothing to do with the latest internet technologies. They're content in using web forums and email and want to complain that those have been taken over but they don't seem to want to embrace the latest stuff which can stop the police state in its tracks. Unfortunately, it's a chicken and egg problem because both the people communicating and the entire communication leg between them has to be using secure, non-compromised technology.

In this same light, Bitcoin could easily be used to take down the entire central banking establishment, worldwide. But no. We have to stay focused on the debate on whether it's better than gold and silver or whether it should be called real money at all. It doesn't matter which is better or what we call it. What matters is that we put the freaking fiat monetary system out of commission. After that's done, we can return to the debates and make a long term decision.

My last example is that of electronic voting. The mere mention of this to most libertarians brings waves of admonishment. They hear those words and immediately begin calling for paper ballots. I'm sorry but paper ballots have more problems than electronic ones. To understand these, check out blackboxvoting.org et al and see all the tricks that are played with accountability, counting, reporting, and the legal trickery against making any proven crimes publicly known. In electronic voting however, the process could be altered to make it completely open with the only privacy stage being that of the voter's identity. This is extremely easy, as I've outlined in past posts. What people miss however, is that by opening up the rest of the process, we can instantly identify any crimes that may occur and by whom. For me, this is by far, the worst issue we face so why not address it first? By voting electronically, we could open the system up for everyone to vote and we could even implement some changes to the game. For example, we could allow votes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices with the next best choice being used only if the previous candidate has definitively lost. This would eliminate the 'lesser of two evils' problem that has kept the 2 parties dominant for so long.

My point is that by using technology to our advantage, we can make some changes that really do take hold. By shunning technology, we're only guaranteeing more power over us.

I agree

And when government forces a surveillance device upon you, it must be met with resistance.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
James Madison

Cyril's picture

I REFUSE to fall for the false antagonism.

I would make the case that liberty has already embraced science and technology long ago.

Peaceful, honest people have a literal CRAVING for science and technology to improve their daily.

I refuse to fall for the false antagonism.

We can just ask our parents and grandparents if they haven't welcome washing machines, dish washers, conventional ovens made electric, then micro wave ovens... Or a novelty way to distribute memory and knowledge, inaccurate or not, thru a decentralized web of hypertext, hyperlinked documents, a web devised in 1989 meant for civilian purposes building upon a stack of network protocols initially funded by and for the academia and military of this country.

If this coup of "judo" of the peaceful people's applications for business, social interactions, and competition of ideas is not the HARD EVIDENCE of an ESSENTIAL craving of the human mind to free itself from the contingencies of space, time, and matter (a USB thumb of today essentially capable to hold millions of the 1970s books and microfilms found, when lucky, in public libraries)...

well, then, I have no freaking idea what could ever be.

The bottom line is always the same and well known:

just make sure that governments get THE F*CK out of the way.

And everything will be okay.


"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Exactly correct.

Instead of fighting off the use of technology, why can't we use it to our benefit instead? Why can't we, through better tech, put an end to oppressive and secretive government. We can easily make the tools to show everyone at a mere glance exactly who any given politician or candidate really is. I'm pretty sure that by exposing the real info on issues and the real track record on people, our public can make much better voting decisions.

We just need an idea of what that tool could work like and we need a skilled programmer to build it. Which task do you want, Cyril? ;)

now THIS is what im talking about

Making apps to easily identify corruption(or anything really). Writing algo's to target the best places for protests. psychologically profiling those who seem to hate liberty. ect ect

Tools of war are not always obvious. The worst weapon is an idea planted in the mind of man. Prejudices can kill, suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has an everlasting fallout all of its own.

Cyril's picture

I'm trying, it's no easy to code alone.

This is what I'm trying to work on from original ideas suggested by the person you replied to.

Sadly, a general state of accumulated fatigue, the taking care of a family spread across two continents, and a full time job here at an employer putting a lot on my plate daily, don't help me to progress much, assuming I am even in the mood to focus on it, these days.

I can't pretend.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

small audience

I don't think you'll find too many people who blindly call science and technology evil as you suggest. That's a straw man.

What thankfully you may find is a growing number of thoughtful people who are asking the question? "Is the current direction of scientific and technological pursuit sustainable? Is that pursuit being judged by the correct criteria? For example, are efficiency and productivity the final goals as economists would suggest, or are sustainability, health, and cohesive community better goals."

Many technologies and directions of scientific inquiry are purely led by the former and wreak havoc on the latter. Needless to say, they are government sponsored. People would never voluntarily adopt many of these things. Who wants a nuclear power plant in their own back yard?

Fortunately, more and more people are waking up to this situation, and that seems to be what troubles you. It doesn't trouble me.

Come on now, we're not troglodytes here.

"Technology is only a tool and serves to amplify one's potential"

Exactly. Since government only has the potential to expand, imagine how technology can be abused to oppress us? The opposite is also true, since the Internet is truly the last bastion of individual sovereignty.

What I, and many others, object to is being forced into acceptance or use of certain technology that the government is obviously going to use to oppress us.

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.


Why should I embrace surveillance technology?

Your post is schizo. You begin your diatribe by asserting we need to 'utilize tech' then soften it by saying understand how it works. All I need to know about 'smart' technology is that it's surveillance tech. Why do I need to know anything else about it? Own a smart phone and you'll be tracked. Have a smart meter on your house and they'll track how you live within your home and record your daily habits by monitoring what appliances you use and when, and use the smart meter to power a device that can see heat images behind the walls of your house so they know where you are in your house. Have a smart TV and you enter Orwell's 1984 where they can actually WATCH YOU watching the TV and see how many people are in the room. And how about all the tech in cars - you want a car the govt can control and kill you with?

Then we have someone like tasmlab saying we need to reform or dissolve the FAMILY!!!, among other things. No thank you. And how about RonPaulWins casting aspersions on what he calls 'religious crazies' - whatever that is?

This post makes little sense as most here already understand the implications of the tech and are choosing to forgo it it for privacy's sake. It also brought to the fore those with more radical ideas on how they would like society to be, kinda like their own form of despotism. I don't care what anyone does or believes as long as I'm not forced to believe or act how they want me to. Leave me be unless I choose to interact with you. That's the best policy in my book.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
James Madison


So the people he was talking about do actually exist. I stand corrected. How silly of me to expect sanity.

How can you possibly ignore the obvious parallels between this and the right to bear arms? Guns are tools, they don't kill people. Cameras are tools, they don't record people. People use guns to kill people, and people use cameras to record people.

you call my post "schizo"? you are claiming your power box spys

you call my post "schizo"? you are claiming your power box is spying on you...

This quote of yours sums up the problem I am seeing.
"All I need to know about 'smart' technology is that it's surveillance tech. Why do I need to know anything else about it?"

This is exactly what I'm talking about. You have little to no understand of the technology or science involved with any of those things yet you deride them. You don't understand the economic reasons for it. You don't understand how life as we know it would be impossible without "smart" tech. In being willfully ignorant of technology you can never see how it can also HELP further the message of liberty.

Tools of war are not always obvious. The worst weapon is an idea planted in the mind of man. Prejudices can kill, suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has an everlasting fallout all of its own.

Are you really that ignorant?

It's one thing to choose to have a smart phone/TV, it's a whole 'nother story to have that technology forced on you.

Have you done no research?
From RT: Smart TVs can spy on their owners

And here's a whole mess of info from Washington's Blog using stories from around the world including govt papers

You, vixen, have little to no understanding of the technology or science involved with any of these things yet you support them. I don't give a flying 'f' about their economic reasons - which was devised by the UN but you probably don't care about that, either. People have lived for thousands of years without EMF and microwave radiation assaulting them and Wi-Fi tech that's easily hackable and have done just fine. If I choose to have a microwave oven, that's MY decision, but to have a smart meter forced onto my home is sanctioning government spying. No thanks.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
James Madison

double post


If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
James Madison

my RFID chip tells them I am Elvis.....

my radar detector emits a signal that I am doing 180MPH and also in bed with his wife....

get it?

Re: Why should I embrace surveillance technology?

Because it can be used to watch corrupt law enforcement and help protect one's private property.

I don't like the whole big brother idea, but arguing against it simply because the government and certain corporate entities abuse it, to me, is a bit like arguing against firearms. Both can be very dangerous in the 'wrong' hands, but that doesn't mean that they should be banned/shunned/whatever else.

Unfortunately, advancements in technology can't simply be shrugged off or ignored into non-existence. IMO, it's better to be aware of such developments and how to use them to your own advantage than say, becoming some sort of Neo-Luddite (not saying you're doing that, but it seems to be a popular mindset).

.02 FRNs

A signature used to be here!

How is a smart meter going to help me watch them?

And I don't need a smart phone to video/photo them, I can use a small camera with those functions. I may not be able to download immediately through the camera, but if the camera doesn't get confiscated, I'll still have the opportunity to do so.
What you're proposing is no choice when you say the tech can't be 'shrugged off or ignored into non-existance'. When smart tech is no longer used against me, then maybe I'll start using it. Until then, it's my choice and don't try to deny me my choice.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
James Madison


A smart meter may not help you watch them, but a small digital camera that auto-uploads to a given website certainly will. The point is that surveillance technology isn't necessarily a bad thing, just as how firearms aren't necessarily a bad thing.

"What you're proposing is no choice when you say the tech can't be 'shrugged off or ignored into non-existance'."

That's because you pretty much DON'T have a choice as to whether these technologies exist or not. Sure, *you* can shrug them off, but that doesn't mean everyone else will, especially those who wish to abuse such technology.

I'm not saying you need to go out and buy every gadget there is, just to be aware of them, what they do, and how to counteract them and/or use them to your advantage if need be.

"When smart tech is no longer used against me, then maybe I'll start using it.

So, 'never' then. Got it.

"Until then, it's my choice and don't try to deny me my choice."

I wasn't trying to 'deny you your choice', I'm simply pointing out the obvious here: your choice will not affect the existence of these technologies, nor how others choose to use them.

EDIT: Oh and by the way, if you really feel that strongly about not using any sort of surveillance tech, you may want to stop using the internet altogether.

A signature used to be here!

No offense, but you ARE the definition of a luddite

Not trying to name-call here but you really need to see this from both sides. That's all that people are saying.

Take for comparison the gun issue. It's a very oppressive tool. Every day we see citizens being abused at the barrel of one of these tools. Yet, as libertarians, we know and agree that we need to keep them in society SO WE HAVE EQUAL POWER against our oppressors.

You rail hardest about smart meters, yet you know exactly zero about 'the other side' of that topic. Without smart meters, we will never get decentralized, cheap and self-controlled energy. Without them, we will be forever beholding to the centralized power structures that include your utility company, the coal, gas and nuke industries and especially the oil industry. Have you not seen the damage those industries have done to society? Petro-dollar much? Got Frack? Are we at BP Gulf devastation yet? Mountain top removal lately? How about wars for energy, forced indebtedness at both the individual and the continent levels, unfair trade agreements or even simple pollution? Are you so blind as to not see that those industries have completely manipulated every industry on the F'ing planet away from using natural resources for feedstock instead of things like fast growing, self seeding, near free and environmentally friendly hemp? Good grief man, how blind can you be? To say what you do is nothing but sheer ignorance!

Now, to satisfy your obvious next question which you will throw back out because YOU haven't researched the issue, I'll explain how that evil smart meter will soon be your best friend, not a nemesis. The current crop of smart meters are a trial, sort of like DARPA testing the waters of the internet by connecting 4 universities. The big picture with them (sic - the internet scale picture) is that they will be OUR TOOL to allow renewables to out-compete all other energy sources for home and auto and eventually commercial energy. If you've researched the solar PV installations lately, you'll know that their cost is way down but the rules and requirements are up. The net metering (buyback price) is way down too. Smart meters on those houses will eventually allow those people to buy as much solar as they wanted, get off the utility payments and sell the rest back AT A PROFIT. Without the smart meter, there's no chance of getting fair market value for the power you sell back so there's no chance of 'over producing' becoming a trend. It's this over producing that will allow your PV and my wind and bob's geothermal and bill's wave to balance out and finally eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels. Does that make sense? In short, the smart meters allow the grid to become as self balancing as the internet - the more connections, the faster it works.

PS: Nearly all videos of police brutality are now confiscated. The ONLY way to get those videos out will soon be for it to be instantly uploaded to social media sites before they even stop the video.

No offense, but your comment exposes your ignorance

You don't know me and you have no idea what research I've done and how much I know - which is probably more than you.
I actually had solar power on my old house but just to make hot water. Didn't work during winter, too cloudy. Do you know what it's like to have no hot water practically all winter? Not pleasant, I can assure you. And a new system wouldn't have changed it and the amount of panels I would need didn't make it cost effective.
And what you also fail to understand because you haven't researched it, is that the price of PV has gone down because they aren't going to last as long as the ones made several years ago. They just don't make them as well as the 'old days'. This means that you will never get the money back on your investment.
Also, solar power only really works at certain latitudes - if you aren't at that latitude, they won't be effective. And if you're like me where the winters are exceptionally coudy, you're outta luck:
"For the 2-axis tracking system, it has been found that the system can collect approximately 50% more energy in summer and 20% in winter; this is for clear sky countries. In cloudy conditions where there is a high volume of clouds in the sky the system would collect around 35% in summer and 5% only in winter and it has been found that in some conditions the use of solar tracking devices can decrease the performance of the energy capture (Messenger & Ventre, 2012). This can make the system a relatively ineffective approach in cloudy regions especially because the cost of such systems is more expensive than the cost of a fixed amount collector."
I would love to go off grid, but unless I move I'm out of luck. If they ever develop solar panels that collect on cloudy days, I'm in. Your arrogance and complete ignorance as to what I research is stunning. But I recognize your name and I recall you have a tendancy to think too much of yourself.
You forgot to write about the different rates they're going to stick people with, charge you the most for electricity when you really need it, like between 2 in the afternoon and 10 at night. What about the elderly, infirmed, people who work from home, stay at home moms or dads? They'll either have to freeze in winter or sweat in summer, but you don't give a rat's about them, do you?
I also think you're pretty ignorant in thinking that the electricty companies wnt people to stop being beholden to them. Do you really think the elec and gas distributors want you to stop using their product. I doubt they will ever make solar efficient enough to keep you on their teet. Nobody has a businees that wants its customers to use less of its product. Think about that for a bit.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
James Madison


Geeze! You quote tons of info on PV (that's all outdated to boot) and not one single thing on the topic of smart meters and then call me arrogant.

I purposely baited you into PV and wind BECAUSE they currently suck. It's because they suck that they are being promoted by the power companies, even though POWER COMPANIES DON'T MAKE GENERATION EQUIPMENT. Wow, you say you research things but you claim they won't make solar efficient enough to go off grid when they don't make it at all.

The reason I prodded PV to you (and yes, I remember you too) is that it is not the final version of home renewable system. There are numerous other technologies just waiting for a fair connection rate schedule before they can get funded. As it currently stands, many states charge 8-11 cents/kWh and pay out 1.2-1.9 cents/kWh for net metered power. How can anyone justify buying anything larger than they will actually use at those rates? Won't happen, and neither will the funding of those technologies.

What technologies? How about solar that DOES work through the clouds. Solar thermal does this if it's concentrated (tracked) but PV is hurt by shading. So, does that mean you're in? ... thought not. Because you're still stuck in the rut of listening to your utility company telling you how energy works!

BTW: Your little tracking comparison is exactly reversed when using concentrated solar thermal and yes, CSP does produce electricity with heat as it's waste byproduct. And yes, that concentrated sunlight (heat) can be stored very cheaply for long periods... but you won't hear that from any paid off university department - let alone a master's thesis. (Who quotes a thesis as research???)

What geographic area do you live in? I ask because there are very few areas that truly don't work out for any new renewable technologies. I'm not saying that you'll be able to purchase a suitable system today but depending on what fits, I'll offer a rough timeline for when you might.

So, I get that you think you've done lots of research and compared to most, you probably have. However, I have been setting things up for over a decade. I have multiple design engineers in multiple fields working on this topic and we've actually proven out many things you said were not possible. If you want to take that as arrogance, go ahead. I'd suggest you take it as privileged info. In my capacity, I've received lots of privileged info in other areas as well. This is the reason I can definitively say that there are two things holding up a complete energy revolution. Those are instant interconnection routing (requires a smart meter) and non-bank-debt funding. You solve both of those and the government won't be able to read your meter because it'll be more like a bitcoin transaction.

why is a smart meter necessary?

I became aware that computers could transmit telemetry over high voltage lines in the late 80'S
that is why I don't like them.

Don't understand

You don't think HV lines should be allowed to transmit telemetry? Why are you against that? My guess is that you're against that info being used against you, not the actual technology.

You may already benefit from telemetry over power lines. It's called PowerLine and it's where internet packets can be sent on power lines either at the home scale or at the HV scale. It's a way of eliminating the cost of running extra wires just to do an extra feature. Baby monitors regularly use this. I should know because I "invented it" and got our first prototype working just as radio shack put theirs in every store. (Damn, too late again.)

You ask why a smart meter is necessary. How about to facilitate an instant and automated free market for distributed energy? When prices can truly follow supply/demand we can finally get off the monopoly of utility companies dictating our every power purchase decision. We can pay those who make power what it's really worth at the times it's really worth that amount. We can allow those who save energy to save money. And best of all, we can allow those with critical needs (some medical device in the home) to pay a little extra during a crisis to ensure their power isn't interrupted during a problem time. The result of this would be that power prices would drop by 3-5% each year until the infrastructure was mostly paid off and then would remain at it's real cost - very near zero.

Until we allow our generation equipment to sense grid load and until we can program our priorities into our appliances to be compared against the grid load (nothing more than a simple live published price), we will be stuck with a monopoly (oligopoly) that makes increasingly bad decisions to keep our rates climbing higher and higher.

Let the free market run free!

yes, just privacy issues.

there are quite a number of things about the idea that are attractive, remote reading is probably the most useful one.....

it also makes FORCED load shedding possible....

do you have a piece of tape over the camera in your laptop?


Mostly unfounded

A 'smart meter' by itself, cannot force any load shedding. It has access to READ the entire lump of power to the residence but not control it. If you build in a high current solid state switch, then yes it could control it but that's expensive and not being done or even proposed by any advocates. And if this was all to happen, the power cut off would stop the entire house supply all at the same time.

Another route is for the home-owner to purchase individual controllers for their individual appliances. Then any form of communication that's agreed upon between the manufacturer, the utility company and the home-owner could be used to tell said appliance to turn itself down or off.

What I'm advocating is somewhat similar but different in who has the power to decide. If the grid were suddenly short on supply, they could simply raise their price on a publicly available display. By programming your appliance to watch this price and by setting limits, it could then automatically switch to economy mode if the price went too high. This would save on power use to help the grid but it would also save on expense to operated a low priority appliance during a shortfall time. It would also allow you to set critical appliances (say a life-sustaining piece of medical equipment) to never lose power. If the power price spiked up for a minute, your dryer may turn off the heater for that minute but your parents' breathing machine wouldn't skip a beat.

Privacy, you say? Ok, that's a fair fear but it's still technically unfounded for the most part. Just as cutting off the full house's power, the meter can only read the whole house's power. At best, it can read a difference between the two phases of 120 volts. It cannot, however, determine the difference between digital devices (flat screens, computers, laptops, game boxes and cable boxes all look identical to them) or between motors (dishwashers, fans, pumps also all look the same). In order for them to get an idea of the times you use a specific appliance, they would have to map out every possible combination of loads to isolate exactly how much power of DC (via power supplies) and of AC that every appliance uses.... and for what? To see when you watch TV or when your dishwasher runs?

No, I don't have tape over the web cam. In fact, I re-align it back to me when I sit back down because the kids are paranoid enough to turn it away. I realize that it technically is possible for someone to watch me without my knowledge but I'd rather fight to end their incentive than try to fight every possible way they want to infringe on my privacy. Just my $.02

not unfounded at all my friend.

I talked with my friend today who knows more about it than I do. yes, internet service CAN be provided over the "grid".

the primary reason that it is not is that bandwidth is limited by it's inductive nature

a spectrum analyzer is what he uses and recommends.

Yes, mostly unfounded.

I'm not quite sure what you're complaining about. I completely agreed that internet can be provided over the grid. That's evident from my statement: "You may already benefit from telemetry over power lines. It's called PowerLine and it's where internet packets can be sent on power lines either at the home scale or at the HV scale."

The question becomes how does that translate into them watching you? For any "internet" connection to watch you, you must have a watching device (camera, microphone, computer, smartphone, etc.) that IS watching you and you must have both a dedicated connection to said internet and the software to run it. Are you saying that your appliances (washer, dryer, dishwasher, water heater) all have those features built in, connected and programmed to do so? Not so. Are you worried about your smart phone connecting to this new grid internet and tattling on you? That would be very crazy since both it and your computer ARE ALREADY CONNECTED to the internet. Are you saying that a smart meter is going to compromise any form of security you believe you haven't already compromised by getting on the internet? Here's where you should answer no.

Your friend uses a spectrum analyzer to do what exactly? That piece of equipment can show the various frequencies present in a circuit but that's it. Really fancy ones can also give an idea of phase/timing to indicate physical location of where a given signal is coming from but if you're using it for that, you should just buy a TDR, a time-domain-reflectometer. That's what they're made for and they're much cheaper. However, neither can get to ANY DATA at all. For that, you need a packet sniffer with an interface to whatever type of internet connection (Ethernet??) that you have. Every higher end network technician has one. If your friend knew even step one of this, this would have been his only answer. He's obviously knowledgeable in power line equipment and not in network security.

The short answer to all of this is this:
By simply using the internet at all, you've compromised everything you possible could unless you actively decide to buy all new appliances with an expensive new feature that let's it connect to the internet. Having a smart meter does not change that statement one tiny bit so there are no new downsides to having one. However, as I showed above, the future of our revolution (in energy) hinges in large part on us utilizing smart meters to get control back in our hands.