Analysis of the Impact of Data Granularity on Privacy for the Smart Grid
Paper in proceedings, 2013
The upgrade of the electricity network to the "smart grid" has been intensified in the last years. The new automated devices being deployed gather large quantities of data that offer promises of a more resilient grid but also raise privacy concerns among customers and energy distributors. In this paper, we focus on the energy consumption traces that smart meters generate and especially on the risk of being able to identify individual customers given a large dataset of these traces. This is a question raised in the related literature and an important privacy research topic. We present an overview of the current research regarding privacy in the Advanced Metering Infrastructure. We make a formalization of the problem of de-anonymization by matching low-frequency and high-frequency smart metering datasets and we also build a threat model related to this problem. Finally, we investigate the characteristics of these datasets in order to make them more resilient to the de-anonymization process. Our methodology can be used by electricity companies to better understand the properties of their smart metering datasets and the conditions under which such datasets can be released to third parties.