Britain's Smart Meter Programme: A Case Study in Privacy by Design

14 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2013

See all articles by Ian Brown

Ian Brown

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: February 12, 2013


Following requirements in the 1996 EU Energy Efficiency Directive, member states are developing programmes to encourage the installation of “smart” power meters that record much larger quantities of data about power usage than traditional meters. This data can reveal a great deal of information about individual household activity, leading privacy regulators to call for privacy to be “designed in” to these systems. The British smart metering programme has given some attention to privacy by design. This article assesses the effectiveness of this process, finding that decisions made early in the programme had negative privacy impacts that have only been partially remedied by the later development of detailed rules on the processing of smart meter data by energy suppliers and distributors. The article also considers the lessons of this case for the privacy by design approach.

Keywords: data protection, technology regulation, energy efficiency

JEL Classification: K23, l15, l23, l52, l94, l95, l96, O33, O38

Suggested Citation

Brown, Ian, Britain's Smart Meter Programme: A Case Study in Privacy by Design (February 12, 2013). International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Ian Brown (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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