Tag Archives: rules

REAL ID Fright Fest 2015, Oklahoma Edition

Headlines 2015

Kaye Beach | Oct. 6, 2015

The headlines are scary.

Vaguely worded policies issued by the federal Department of Homeland Security and sensational headlines have allowed misconceptions about the actual consequences of not having a REAL ID to grow.

The very worst possible consequences of not having not having a REAL ID card are actually quite minimal.

To refresh your memory- the REAL ID Act was passed with little to no debate in Congress in 2005 as a rider to a ‘must pass’ military and disaster relief funding bill.  The most controversial portion of the law imposes federal standards upon state driver’s licenses and ID documents.  And contrary to media reports, the REAL ID Act does require the collection and digital retention of every driver license applicants’ biometric facial image.  This fact is acknowledged by the National Conference of State Legislatures as well as other policy professionals so you don’t have to take my word for it.

nscl

The biometric and other personal information is required to be shared among the states and is accessible to the federal government.
The consequences for having a REAL ID are far more disturbing than the consequences for not having a REAL ID  which can be summed up like this; Someday, if you do not have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or one of the umpteen acceptable alternatives, the TSA will look you up in their database to make sure that you are really you and you may be subject to a secondary screening which generally means you will be asked to either go through the naked scanner or get a pat down and they will look in your bags. That’s about it so why are we being treated to this over the top fright fest?
Because fear is one of the only tools DHS has to get the states to comply

Jim Harper at Cato explains:

Right now, the Department of Homeland Security is sending out emissaries to tell state leaders that their residents might soon feel the TSA’s wrath. State motor vehicle bureaucrats and pro-national ID groups are joining them in the effort to herd state leaders over the national ID cliff.
But the threat of TSA enforcement is an empty one. REAL ID “deadlines” have come and gone many times. No state has ever come into compliance with REAL ID. No state will be in compliance in 2016. And the TSA will not begin a program to prevent Americans from traveling by air.

The adoption of the REAL ID standards is (by law) is voluntary for the states. This is not a mandate so implementation can only be accomplished gradually by persuading (or intimidating) the states into compliance. Since the law is so controversial (not to mention convoluted and costly!) states have little incentive to adopt the REAL ID standards.
No one really seems to want a REAL ID — unless they think that the consequences for not having one might be dire.

“. . .by requiring Real ID-compliant licenses to board commercial aircraft, the law could put a lot of public pressure on states to issue licenses that meet its standards.”
Source: USA Today, Real ID is slowly changing state drivers’ licenses, Jan. 22, 2014

Oklahoma has been granted an extension by the Dept. of Homeland Security. An extension means that the state’s driver’s license and ID cards will be accepted just as if the ID was fully REAL ID compliant.
From the Dept. of Homeland Security, REAL ID Enforcement in Brief:
“Individuals holding driver’s licenses or identification cards from these jurisdiction may continue to use them as before.”
The jurisdiction referred to are states where their licenses have been “(1) determined to meet the Act’s standards; or (2) that have received extensions.”

This means that Oklahoma ID’s are acceptable for flying, entering specified federal buildings and entering a nuclear facility, 3 of the four “official purposes” that will require a REAL ID.  There are FOUR official purposes that require a REAL ID but I have yet to hear the media cover the fourth purpose even once.

The REAL ID final rules require a REAL ID complaint driver’s license or ID card for certain specified “official purposes” (defined in Sec 201 of the Act.)
#1 Entering Federal facilities
#2 boarding a Federally-regulated commercial aircraft
#3 Entering a nuclear power plant
and
#4 Any other purpose established by the Secretary of Homeland Security
(Real ID Final Rules http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2008-01-29/pdf/08-140.pdf)

The fourth official purpose is what a good friend of mine refers to as the “dictator clause”  It means just what it says.  The Secretary of Homeland Security can add any other purpose he or she wisher.  No congressional review – no nothing.  Would it bother you if you were required to present your biometric national ID for say….ammo?

That fourth purpose could come in handy for just about anything that needs to be monitored, rationed or controlled.  Ask Oklahoma media to cover THAT!

The DHS will be reviewing the progress of states that have received extensions this month. I predict that Oklahoma will be granted another extension.

On Dec. 29, 2014, the Dept. Of Homeland Security extended the deadline for enforcement upon states that have an extension or are deemed compliant with REAL ID until Oct. 1, 2020. Oklahoma appears to exempt from enforcement until 2020.

In the worst-case-scenario, one where the DHS refuses to grant our state and extension and we become subject to enforcement in order to board a plane “no sooner than 2016,”  it’s still not going to be a big deal for Okies.

Not once has it been publicly asserted by the Department of Homeland Security or the TSA that not having a REAL ID compliant license would ever be a basis for denying a person the ability to board a commercial aircraft or that a U.S. Passport is the only accepted alternative to REAL ID
Clarifying statements have been made by DHS officials though, they just aren’t the ones that make the headlines.
For example, Darrell Williams, former Senior Director, Office of State Issued ID Support, Department of Homeland Security, testified before a Congressional subcommittee that there are a variety of identification alternatives to a REAL ID and that not having a REAL ID compliant license will not prevent a person from boarding a plane. He went on to say to say that even individuals with NO FORM OF ID at all can still be permitted to fly.

Williams TSA REAL ID

Mr. Williams as the former Director of the REAL ID program for the Department of Homeland Security with (which directs the Transportation Security Administration) is very familiar with the policies of both agencies. No publicly available official statement on the matter of REAL ID and boarding a federally regulated commercial aircraft refutes Mr. Williams’ testimony.

Here is the TSA’s list of preferred ID documents:
• Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
• U.S. passport
• U.S. passport card
• DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
• U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
• Permanent resident card
• Border crossing card
• DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
• Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
• Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
• HSPD-12 PIV card
• Foreign government-issued passport
• Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
• Transportation worker identification credential
http://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification

Here the TSA goes into a bit more detail regarding its identity verification procedures:

“TSA prefers that passengers use an acceptable ID at the checkpoint and only publishes the acceptable forms of primary ID, such as a driver’s license and passport on its website. However, we understand that, due to extenuating circumstances a passenger may not have an acceptable form of ID when attempting to travel on a commercial aircraft. Therefore, TSA has alternate means to verify identity in order to allow a passenger to travel and may rely on a variety of government-issued documents, commercial databases, and other agencies to verify passenger identity. The alternative means to establish identity are not published on the website in part because TSA prefers that passengers use acceptable ID.

The TSA website informs passengers that, if they do not have acceptable ID, they can alternatively provide additional information and undergo additional screening in order to be cleared. Specifically, the website informs the public that: “If you are willing to provide additional information, we have other ways to confirm your identity, like using publicly available databases, so you can reach your flight.”
(TSA response to congressional inquiry Aug. 7, 2014
https://www.scribd.com/doc/237497624/TSA-Doc)

No one is going to have to get a passport or be barred from flying due to the REAL ID Act.

Sparks Real ID

This press released today by the Oklahoma Senate certainly sounds dire.

Can you imagine if people were unable to enter the Social Security office?  What if you were asked to appear in Federal Court and you don’t have a REAL ID?  What would happen?

Apparently nothing.

REAL ID Act of 2005 Implementation: An Interagency Security Committee Guide
Aug 2015, Interagency Security Committee
“…there is no requirement to produce a REAL ID Act compliant ID to enter a Federal facility for accessing health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement (including participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations), participating in constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s or spectator’s access to court proceedings, access by jurors or potential jurors), voting or registering to vote, or applying for or receiving Federal benefits…”
https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/isc-real-id-guide-august-2015-508_0.pdf

According to the Department of Homeland Security
REAL ID does NOT apply to the following:
• Entering Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification
• Voting or registering to vote
• Applying for or receiving Federal benefits
• Being licensed by a state to drive
• Accessing Health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings)
• Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations

There is too much fear, uncertainty and doubt being pumped out by the media and state officials for me to address in just one post so expect more posts soon.  Until then – don’t let them scare you!

Oklahomans Going It Alone Against Smart Meters?

og e smart meter

Kaye Beach

Feb, 11, 2013

A smart meter is usually an electrical meter that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes [7] Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system. (Wikipedia)

There are 3 major concerns surrounding the smart grid and smart meters.

  1. Health/Safety
  2. Privacy
  3. Security

Over the last couple of years I have aired my concerns about smart meters, most of which are associated with privacy or property rights.

https://axiomamuse.wordpress.com/tag/smart-meters/

I have stuck closely to the privacy issues because this is the area that personally causes me the most worry and I have some level of experience and expertise when it comes to matters of technology, privacy and public policy. The privacy threats associated with these two way communication devices is, for me, is easy to understand and explain. I am fortunate that, when it comes to the potential surveillance and privacy issues, there is a variety of credible sources I can draw upon to help make my points clear.

For example, see this recent Congressional Research Report that, in a matter of fact manner, lays out the intrusive surveillance capabilities of smart meters and the smart grid;

“With smart meters, police will have access to data that might be used to track residents’ daily lives and routines while in their homes, including their eating, sleeping, and showering habits, what appliances they use and when, and whether they prefer the television to the treadmill, among a host of other details.”

This report, Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity, goes on to discuss existing law related to the Fourth Amendment and discusses the possibility that this intrusive capability may not be adequately covered by existing law. Clearly, the sanctity and privacy of our very homes is in the privacy invasion danger zone.

My point is that when it comes to smart meters and privacy, I am well equipped to engage but for the complicated questions surrounding the biological interactions of this newly introduced technology, I feel a bit out of my league and have been reluctant to jump into the health and safety questions revolving around the smart meters.

However, as I speak to person after person in this state who are suffering from not only ill effects on their health but also from being ignored, mocked or even bullied by the utility corporation and state officials, I am becoming outraged and advocating for fair and open government that respects the rights of all is something that falls squarely within my comfort zone.

I have spoken to people in our state that have fled their beautiful home, taking refuge in a small, cramped travel trailer, because a family member became dangerously ill after the meter was installed. Another couple disconnected their electric service and is using a generator rather than risk their health or privacy, still another family keeps close watch over their analog meter and fends off its replacement with a smart meter with a lock and letters threatening legal action against OG&E, others have resorted to constructing safe spaces within their homes by using frequency blocking shielding materials so that they can get respite from the symptoms caused by the new meters. Others feel that they have been bullied into submission by installers and utility providers. These are just a few of the stories that I am personally familiar with. What is going on here?!

Resistance to smart meters is happening everywhere and stories like these recent ones are simply unbelievable.

Handicapped Woman Refuses Smart Meter — Has Power Cut in the Dead of Winter

Residents unhappy with smart meter related arrests

Are we going to let this situation fester to the point that we see these kinds of actions in Oklahoma?

Going It Alone

Many Oklahomans have been fighting individual, solitary battles against the utility corporations and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to get these unwanted smart meters off of their homes. I believe that there are many more Oklahomans out there suffering or fighting all alone.

Whether or not we are personally concerned about the possible privacy, security or health issues that surround smart meters, we all should be concerned if the utility corporations, our elected representatives, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and other public servants of this state are not being properly responsive to those who have serious objections to having a smart meter installed on their property or homes

Meet Joe Esposito.

Joe is one of these people I have met who is struggling with what to do about his smart meter that has had an adverse effect on his health. But Joes he is not going to do it in darkness. Joe is trying to help others and he is wants to bring concerns about smart meters to the attention of the public.

Joe Esposito did his research on the smart meters when he became aware that the Public Service Company of Oklahoma planned to install one on each and every home in the City of Owasso beginning in 2011.

He felt very uncomfortable being forced to have his home serve as a test case for what appeared to be untested, unproven and unsafe technology and contacted the power company and asked that no smart meter be installed on his home.

Despite his request, on March 16, 2011, the smart meter was installed on his home, without his permission.

The meters are mandatory in Oklahoma, no matter how compelling your reason for not wanting one, no one is permitted to ‘opt out’. There is no state or federal law that requires us to accept installation of a smart meter. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is responsible for creating the rules that make them mandatory.

TITLE 165: OKLAHOMA CORPORATION COMMISSION

CHAPTER 35. ELECTRIC UTILITY RULES

PERMANENT RULES

After the installation of the smart meter, Mr Esposito began to experience unusual health problems: dental problems, tingling in his mouth, sharp pains throughout his body at night and more.

Upon investigation, Mr. Esposito found and some techniques to block the frequencies caused by the meter and when he utilized these techniques he experienced rapid improvement in his health.

During the Month of January 2013, Mr. Esposito delivered the following seven documents to the Oklahoma Legislature, the Governor and Lt. Governor, the Corporation Commission as well as Senator Inhofe, Senator Coburn and Representative Bridenstine.

  1. STATEMENT OF CONCERN AND ACTION AGAINST SMART METERS IN THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA Jan. 8, 2013
  2. Letter to Commission Secretary British Columbia Utilities Commission, 2013
  3. The Smart Meter Abyss November 2012 Owasso, Oklahoma
  4. Hazardʼs of Electromagnetic
    Radiation (EMR) Reference Sheet
  5. ARE YOU LIVING CLOSE TO ‘CANCER GENERATOR’?
  6. EMF Safety Network
  7. EMF Safety Network page 2

Mr. Esposito also has a website under development, Stop Smart Meters in Oklahoma

http://www.stopsmartmetersinoklahoma.org/

If you are having problems with your smart meter, you will want to connect with this gentleman. Joe Esposito’s email address is joeesposito8111@yahoo.com

Stop Smart Meters in Oklahoma is not fully operational yet but there are some suggestions up for Oklahomans opposed to smart meter installation under Actions You Can Take

Another place for Oklahomans concerned about smart meters to connect is on Facebook. Oklahoma Smart Meter Info Swap

I will continue to follow the stories of Oklahomans who have been going it alone against the forced installation of smart meters on their homes.

If you have or are currently having problems with your smart meter in Oklahoma and would like share your story, please contact me at axxiomforliberty@gmail.com

GOP officials express outrage over Whetsel, Courthouse Gang Ties

Kaye Beach
Oct. 15, 2012
What is the point of belonging to a political party?  Republicans host fundraiser for Democrat opponent of Republican OK County Sheriff’s candidate.
                       For Immediate Release
October 15, 2012
Contact: Steve Dickson
Cell: 405-206-4041
GOP officials express outrage over Whetsel, Courthouse Gang Ties
 
More than three dozen members of the Oklahoma County Republican Party County Committee are calling for the censure of Oklahoma County Commissioner Ray Vaughn, Oklahoma County Tax Assessor Leonard Sullivan, Oklahoma County Treasurer Butch Freeman, and Oklahoma County Court Clerk Carolyn Caudill. The Republicans in question were listed as Honorary Co-Hosts at a fundraiser held on Wednesday, October 10th, 2012, for Democratic Sheriff John Whetsel at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Among the concerns of the more than three dozen Precinct Chairs and Vice Chairs are:
Democratic Sheriff Whetsel is under investigation by both the OSBI and the FBI, according to local news reports (Fox 25 News). The investigation is centered on the use of inmates and county property to manufacture signs for the Democratic Sheriff’s re-election effort. This is obviously a serious abuse of power at best, and the violation of numerous felonies at worst. Every sign for the Democratic Sheriff Whetsel should bring to mind forced inmate labor at county facilities, working on his campaign, against their will.
Democratic Sheriff Whetsel has failed to fix the problems with the Oklahoma County Jail. After 16 years of his leadership the problems have deteriorated to the point that the Federal Government has removed all prisoners (Daily Oklahoma, 2008). The answer from the Democratic Sheriff – and these members of the Courthouse Gang – seems to be a $350 million replacement (OK Gazette) of a 21-year-old jail whose chief problem is management. Here’s another Daily Oklahoman article (2010) attempting to blame the statistics, rather than admit the problem.
The Republican Party has a strong, experienced nominee in Darrell Sorrels. He has 20 years of experience in law enforcement and is currently a special Deputy for the U.S. Marshall Service in the Western District of Oklahoma. Additionally, his strong advocacy of constitutional and conservative principles would be a dramatic improvement in the Sheriff’s office. To counter the actions of the Courthouse Gang, the Oklahoma County Republican Party should immediately contribute the maximum allowable by law to Republican Nominee Sorrels.
Finally, Rule 19 (G) 4 of the Rules of the Oklahoma Republican Partyallows for the removal of any “officer, committee member or delegate of any organization, committee, delegation or unit of the Republican Party” for “Publicly supporting or endorsing an opponent of candidates of the Republican Party”.
We call for the County Committee to be convened, with the express purpose of removing any and all party officials who have endorsed the Democratic Sheriff John Whetsel. We call on the County Committee to censure the “Courthouse Gang” for their unconscionable actions. We call on the Oklahoma County Republican Party to actively recruit replacements for these positions at the time of the next election to each respective office.
Signed,
Gregory Smith, Chairman, Precinct 10; Jon Muckleroy, Vice Chairman, Precinct 12; Danielle Spence-Tidd, Chairwoman, Precinct 28; Tina Kelly, Chairwoman, Precinct 32; Larry Kelly, Vice Chairman, Precinct 32; Stephanie West, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 37; John Williams, Chairman, Precinct 41; Cheryl Williams, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 41; John Kucewicz, Chairman, Precinct 60; Courtney Klein, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 60; Aaron Bernard, Vice Chairman, Precinct 63; Donald Crosson, Chairman, Precinct 70;  Kyle McDaniel, Chairman, Precinct 71; Ryan Ford, Vice Chairman, Precinct 79; Jerome Montgomery, Chairman, Precinct 80; Steve Long, Chairman, Precinct 83; Duane Crumbacher, Chairman, Precinct 90; Suzanne Crumbacher, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 90; Porter Davis, Chairman, Precinct 111; Bob Donohoo, Vice Chairman, Precinct 111; David Brooke, Chairman, Precinct 114; Lori Pedford, Chairwoman, Precinct 115; Toby Pedford, Vice Chairman, Precinct 115; Chris McLaughlin, Chairman, Precinct 134; Sarah McLaughlin, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 134;Steve Dickson, Chairman, Precinct 139;Taeren Wilson, Chairman, Precinct 151; Amy Wilson, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 151; Darla Minor, Chairwoman, Precinct 180; Kyle Minor, Chairman, Precinct 181; Richard Robinson, Chairman, Precinct 191; Jodi Sires, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 191; Lukus Collins, Chairman, Precinct 195; Rayna Savage, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 201; Hugh Smith, Chairman, Precinct 206; JJ Prachyl, Chairman, Precinct 250; Josh Carrozza, Vice Chairman, Precinct 250; Ken Moore, Chairman, Precinct 252; Shaun Herring, Vice Chairman, Precinct 252
Attached: Front and back scans of the invitation to “Calypso Under The Canopy For Sheriff John Whetsel”.
###

Should Oklahoma take a stand against the NDAA?

Kaye Beach

Feb 15, 2012

I don’t know about you but I want my state to go on record as opposing this dangerous legislation.  If you agree, make a call or send an email today letting the head of the Rules Committee know that it is important to you.  (contact info at the bottom of this post)

HCR 1025 is a resolution filed by state Rep. Charles Key would petition Congress and President Barack Obama to repeal sections of the National Defense Authorization Act that are in conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

 “President Barack Obama has said he would not hold citizens indefinitely, it is deplorable that he would sign into law legislation that contains clauses that would authorize him to do just that,” said Key ( R-Oklahoma City ). “Oklahomans have taken notice of this repugnant new law and as state lawmakers it is our duty to apply pressure to Congress and the president to undo this debacle.” link

Read HCR 1025

Oklahoma joins at least five other states in pushing back against the unconstitutional NDAA which is terribly ambiguous at the least and at the worst will allow the government to detain indefinitely those that are merely suspected or in any way can be associated with terrorism.

HCR 1025 has been referred to the House Rules Committee but has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.

Please call or send an  email encouraging Rep. Banz, Chair of the Rules Committee, to give HCR 1025 a hearing in his committee.

Concerns About OG&E SMart Meters: Privacy, Security, Reliability

Kaye Beach

Jan 5, 2012

Last week I told you that I have been learning as much as I can about OG&E’s smart meter rollout from conversations with a gentleman that has an extensive background in areas relevant to smart meters/smart grid.  Let’s just call him ‘Stephan’.  Stephan is an electrical engineer and published author with dozens of patents in digital communications and network storage.  He is the founder, contributor and executive for multiple hi-tech companies including an internet company and he has decades of service to his credit on National Standards Committees.

A smart meter is usually an electrical meter that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes.[7] Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system. Unlike home energy monitors, smart meters can gather data for remote reporting. Such an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) differs from traditional automatic meter reading (AMR) in that it enables two-way communications with the meterFrom wikipedia

In Pressing Issues About OG&E’s Smart Meter Rollout, I hit on some of the most obvious concerns about this program and covered where the authority to force consumers to accept the meters come from.  The authority for OG&E to implement the system on each home  is derived from, not from state of federal statute, but from rules promulgated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission

There is no federal mandate that requires that smart meters be installed.  However, relevant federal law does favor smart meters, smart grid, time based pricing by providing grants to states incentivize adoption of smart meters/grid.

Smart grid has been a priority of the Obama administration. The Department of Energy awarded 100 grants totaling $3.4 billion for smart grid projects. Many of them have been used to install smart meters in states like California, Texas, Maryland and Connecticut.  http://business380.com/2011/11/21/alliant-midamerican-in-no-rush-to-embrace-smart-meters/

This is true in Oklahoma as well. 

The primary reason given for OG&E’s desire to move forward with the smart meters was plainly stated to be mostly due to the availability of millions in federal stimulus funds.

Some customers believe the Corporation Commission allowed OG&E to jump too quickly for the carrot dangled by the Department of Energy to the detriment of their captive ratepayers.

There are a variety of technologies available to the utilities that can be used  to operate the smart meters but OG&E picked the more privacy invasive of these technologies.  Stephan contrasts OG&E’s choice of technology to that of the OEC (Oklahoma Electric Cooperative) which is not as privacy intrusive as that of OG&E.

OEC, explains Stephan, does not use an RF “mesh” to transmit data to the utility.  Instead, it uses existing power lines to transmit signals.  He explains that with OG&E’s system every home is required to have a meter that contains a 900 MHz radio and a 2.3GHz radio.  Those radios are always on in listening mode.  OG&E’s implementation will transmit data from each home at least once every 4 hours, and as often as once per hour.

Unfortunately, we do not have the option of voting with our wallets.  If you are an OG&E customer, you are stuck with the new digital meters.

I asked Stephan to look at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s ‘Commonly Asked Questions About Smart Meters’ document and see if he agreed with the information provided.

Here are some of the major disagreements with the document that Stephan outlined for me.

Do Smart meters relay my personal information?

OCC says;

No. No personal information is displayed on the outside or contained in the new meter. Your account number, address, and personal information are never transmitted by the meter. Smart meters relay a code that is associated with your account along with usage information on a 15 minute interval. The data transmitted by the meter is also encrypted for your protection.

Stephan says;

Yes.

Every data transmission from a Smart meter to the utility contains an identifying meter number.  That meter number is uniquely attached to your account, so every transmission from a Smart meter contains personal information.

Any information that contains an identifying number is classified as personal information.  That includes your social security number, your driver’s license number, your employee badge number, your license plate number, and in this case, your Meter number.  There exists a database which links the meter number with name, address, useage, payments, etc.  While that database is not publically accessible, there are numerous instances where databases and servers have been hacked.  It is Naïve and Foolish to believe that any database is totally secure.  Even if great lengths have been taken to protect the data as it goes into the database, there is no way to protect the data from those that actually control the database.  Databases can be hacked from the inside as well as the outside.

Are smart meters secure from electronic attacks?

The OCC says;

Yes.

Security is of concern to the Commission when considering Smart meter projects. To date, the programs approved have been subject to extensive third party testing. Again, it is also important to remember that no personal or account data is transmitted by the Smart meter.

Stephan says;

No. At least not the ones being used by OG&E.  

No wireless electronic device can be secure from electronic attacks.  Just as no mechanical device can be secure from an explosion.  The issue with electronic attacks is that they are often undetected and can also cover a very large number of devices simultaneously.

Electronic attacks can take several forms.

(a)  Direct interception of data

(b)  Hijacking data input or output

(c)  “Man-in-the-Middle” attacks

(d)  Hijacking of the meter and re-programming

(e)  Viruses

(f)   EMP

(g)  Ability to monitor several properties electronically to check for patterns indicating no one home during the day or vacation mode.

Most important, even if the data transmission itself is secure, the data will eventually reside on a server somewhere.  Servers containing banking information and credit card information are routinely hacked.  Utilities are hacked.  Satellites are hacked.  Military drones are hacked.  The only information that cannot somehow be compromised is information that is never transmitted or stored.

Stephan adds and answers an important question not addressed by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s FAQ.

 What are the security risks of Smart meters?

1.                   Data interception and decoding by hackers. There is no such thing as a secure wireless network.  There are many techniques to capture data, decrypt it and analyze it.  The “mesh” network is particularly insidious from a security standpoint because any person in the area, in a home, a car, or business can monitor hundreds of homes simultaneously.  Hackers are remarkably adept at obtaining tools, and radios that operate on the 900 MHz band are readily available.

2.                   What else operates on the 900 MHz band?  Garage Door openers, TV and satellite remotes, Cordless phones, WIFI.  The meter radio is always on and will detect activation of any consumer device within the home.  It may not be able to decode it, but consumer devices have signatures that can be used to locate proximity and timing.

3.                   Viruses.  Viruses are devious pieces of software that are usually undetected during normal operation, but that activate based on specific criteria.  The Smart meter contains downloadable code capability, which means that the software that operates the meter can be updated over the wireless network.  A sufficiently sophisticated virus could cause all meters to shut down at a certain time on a certain day, for example, and then not turn back on again.  The utility company would have to manually repair or replace every meter in the entire network one by one in order to restore power.

4.                   The expected service life of these meters is in the range of 20 years or so.  It is naïve to believe that decrypting technology will not exist within that timeframe that will expose the network and every homeowner to serious and irreparable harm.

Will smart meters let the utility or other entities know what appliances I am using or what television programming I am watching?

[I am not aware of any allegation that smart meters allow your television programming to be monitored and neither is Stephan.  We will overlook that apparent red herring and just address the real issue of whether or not the new smart meters can enable the utility or others to discern what appliances are being used by the occupant. kb]

The OCC says;

No. Consumer privacy is very important to the Commission. The Smart meter only transmits total power consumed in 15 minute intervals. While advanced Smart meter systems that track “per appliance” usage will be available in the future, the program will be voluntary and will only show the power consumed.

But Stephan says;

Yes. 

Even if an appliance doesn’t send a signal to the smart meter directly, the energy used by each appliance has a signature that can be identified.  Think of being able to know which of your neighbors is driving down the street based upon the noise of their car.  With a little experience, you can detect the sound of the muffler or breaks.  You can tell the difference between a motor cycle and an automobile and a Semi-truck by the way they sound.  Likewise, a great deal of information can be inferred about an appliance’s use by looking at a residence’s electrical profile.

The profile is essentially a summation of all of the current being used by all of the appliances and you can easily break them apart and figure out which appliance is being used.  For example, a refrigerator operating in a fixed temperature environment when no one is at home will cycle on and off at a predictable frequency.  It is just a motor that draws a fixed current for a period of time.  Likewise, an air conditioner will cycle for a period of time, then turn off, then cycle again.  The A/C will cycle more frequency as it gets hotter outside and there is more heat loss from the residence.  If a set-back thermostat is being used, then A/C profile will look different.  When the temperature is raised by the set-back thermostat, there will be a long delay without the A/C cycling.  It will then cycle periodically throughout the day.  When the set-back thermostat adjusts the temperature to cool the residence in preparation for the family’s return, there will be an unusually long cycle while the house cools down.  An oven or stove has an identifiable profile as do most appliances – even televisions and washers and dryers.

Hence, by knowing the profile of the energy use, a great deal can be inferred about the occupancy of the home.  Likewise, comparing energy profiles from day to day, an analyst can easily tell if the residents are on vacation and have turned the A/C up to save energy.

Stephan explains that, the goal of the Smart grid is to makes consumer’s consumption dependent upon the weather.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the sound of that.

Here are the facts.

1)      Our energy comes from 2 sources – electrical plants and renewable sources such as windmills and solar cells.

2)      Renewable energy sources are very unreliable.  They are highly dependent upon weather patterns.

3)      One of the objectives of the Smart Grid is to make consumption more closely match variable generation.  In other words, the power that you are allowed to use depends on the weather.

Stephan explains further that, power plant construction has been severely curtailed and it takes approximately 11 years to build a coal-fired power plant.  A great deal of money and effort over the past few years has gone into “green energy”.  However, as utilities are now discovering, because the energy is unreliable, it cannot replace power plants.  The goal of the Smart grid is to makes consumer’s consumption dependent upon the weather.

The true cost of windmill and photovoltaic energy has never been reasonably figured into the cost equation.  According to OG&E’s estimates, up to 40% of the power generated by windmills is unusable because it is not consistent.  Any person that has even looked at a PhotoVoltaic off-grid system understands that the photo cells are only a part of the cost, there is also the cost of energy storage in the form of batteries, and a back-up generator for periods of extraordinary use or cloudy days.

In short, renewable energy sources can be a small supplement for energy use, but can never be depended upon for normal production.  It does not save the building of power plants as those plants will need to be built anyway for periods when the wind isn’t blower or there are cloudy days.  The cost of renewable energy is actually several times more than the capital costs of installation divided by the energy produced as you still have to have a backup power source.

OG&E has already deferred the building of one new power plant.(the stated goal is to defer two plants)

Reducing Peak Demand to Defer Power Plant Construction in Oklahoma


 Are we setting ourselves up for exactly what Stephan is warning us about; that our power will become dependent on whether or not the sun shines or the wind blows?

He warns

“There is a law of unintended consequences.  Whenever a monopolistic enterprise attempts to enforce a specific solution on the populace without the self-correcting action of the free market, or tramples upon the right of privacy or consumer choice, there will be consequences.  They may be political, sociological, medical, financial, or can contribute to the loss of life and liberty.  It is our duty to find solutions to our problems that do not infringe upon the liberties of the individual or the sanctity of the home.”

In the next article I will cover some of the possible unintended consequences of the Smart Meter/Grid system that OG&E is currently implementing as well as some specific legal issues that must be addressed.

Pressing Issues About OG&E’s Smart Meter Rollout

Kaye Beach

Dec 27, 2011

 

Over the last few weeks I have been discussing the issues and concerns about OG&E’s smart meter rollout with a gentleman with an extensive background in areas relevant to smart meters/smart grid in order to better understand the technology, specifically the technology being used by OG&E in its implementation of the Positive Energy® Smart Grid program.

This gentleman is an electrical engineer and published author with dozens of patents in digital communications and network storage.  He is the founder, contributor  and executive for multiple hi-tech companies including an internet company and he has decades of service to his credit on National Standards Committees. He does not wish to be personally identified at this time so I will refer to him simply as a “consultant”  Due to the nature of his work, this consultant also has more than a passing familiarity with business law and also  property and intellectual rights which adds considerable dimension to the discussions regarding the smart meter program in Oklahoma.

OG&E’s Positive Energy® Smart Grid program stresses that it is “in partnership” with OG&E’s customers, however, many customers that I have spoken with do not think that they are in any way being treated as “partners” with OG&E.   The reason why is both obvious and likely responsible for much of the ire that has been raised by the installation of smart meters by OG&E-the customer has absolutely no say so in the matter.  There are no options for OG&E customers, they must accept the new meters which enable two way communications between consumer’s meters and the utility.

The authority for mandating the installation of the smart meters, according to Kenneth Grant, Managing Director of Positive Energy® Smart Grid, comes from rules promulgated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission

TITLE 165: OKLAHOMA CORPORATION COMMISSION

CHAPTER 35. ELECTRIC UTILITY RULES

PERMANENT RULES

AMENDED, EFFECTIVE 7-25-2011

 

I will be posting more information gathered in my correspondence and discussions with my consultant but for now, the basics.

Here is his explanation on how OG&E’s system works followed by what the consultant believes to be the issues of greatest concern.

The network that the utility uses is composed of several layers.  The collection layer is called a “mesh”.  Each meter on each home is both a send and receive radio. 

Your information is broadcast to all of the homes in your surrounding neighborhood for a radius that can sometimes exceed a mile. 

Other homes pick up your information and pass it along.  Multiple homes will receive your information and your home will likewise receive the information from multiple homes.  The intent is to create a redundant “net” of radios that relays information to a central hub, where it eventually is transmitted to the Utility’s central servers over a combination of microwave transmitters and Fiber. 

Every home is required to have a meter that contains a 900 MHz radio and a 2.3GHz radio.  Those radios are always on in listening mode.  OG&E’s implementation will transmit data from each home at least once every 4 hours, and as often as once per hour.

It is not the aims of OG&E that our consultant takes issue with so much as the means in which the utility has chosen to accomplish those aims.

I agree with the ability of the utility to be able to transfer ownership, do load-based billing, pre-paid billing, etc. and to manage their network remotely.  However, the means that OG&E has chosen to employ is invasive and tramples on individual property and privacy rights.

Smart Meters do not have any inherent money or energy saving abilities.  They are touted as being effective due to their ability to help customers monitor their energy usage and make behavioral changes based on that data.  However, as the consultant explains, it is the utilities that are the most obvious beneficiaries of the cost cutting benefits of smart meters.

According to the consultant;  The major advantage of the smart meter is not that it allows customers to save energy – it does not.  It saves the utility millions of dollars in payroll to read meters, it allows them to charge different rates depending on the time of day that electricity is being used, and it allows them to turn meters on and off remotely without a physical visit to the home. . .  It appears that this cost savings is the principle costs savings to the Smart Meter program.

The consultant identifies the following as the most pressing issues and concerns regarding OG&E’s smart meter/grid rollout;

1)       Utility companies are essentially government sponsored monopolies.  In Oklahoma there is oversight by the commission, but the commission operates independently from the legislature.  That allows policy to be made without public review.  I find that to be dangerous.

2)       A consumer needs reasonable property rights to prevent the utility from forcing him/her to submit to RF as a term of service (there are solutions like the one that OEC uses that do not require that)

3)       A consumer should have reasonable rights having to do with the amount of personal information that is transmitted to the utility.  If you are billed once per month, they should only be allowed to read it once per month.  This is a huge privacy issue.  Someone privy to that information can discern a great deal of personal information about the individual.  Primary consideration from a theft perspective is knowledge of whether is someone is normally at home during the day, on vacation, etc.

4)       A consumer should have rights against being into becoming a part of the utility information network.  Current implementation by OG&E as I understand it forces the homeowner to receive and pass along information from other consumers in the area.  That is done without the consumer’s knowledge or consent.  It is like being forced to allow the utility access to your property to read your neighbors meter, or being forced to be a radio transmitter without your consent.

5)       The use of the 900Mhz and 2.4Ghz frequencies for data transmission.  The OG&E meters have radios that are capable of picking up use on those bands.  That information could be used to detect when TV remote controls are being used, garage door openers, internet, cordless phones, and even TV remotes.  That is not the intended use, but the capability exists within the meters.

Essentially, even though every person that uses radio will guarantee that their network and information is safe and invulnerable, the only real way to protect personal information is to not collect it at all.

6)       The meters have the ability to upload new code remotely, so their functionality can be changed at any time by an authorized individual, or potentially by a hacker without the homeowner’s knowledge

In addition, this consultant raises some concerns about the vulnerability of OG&E’s smart meters to electronic attacks.

Are smart meters secure from electronic attacks?

No.  At least not the ones being used by OG&E.   No wireless electronic device can be secure from electronic attacks.  Just as no mechanical device can be secure from an explosion.  The issue with electronic attacks is that they are often undetected and can also cover a very large number of devices simultaneously.

Electronic attacks can take several forms. 

(a)  Direct interception of data

(b)  Hijacking data input or output

(c)  “Man-in-the-Middle” attacks

(d)  Hijacking of the meter and re-programming

(e)  Viruses

(f)   EMP

(g)  Ability to monitor several properties electronically to check for patterns indicating no one home during the day or vacation mode.

Most important, even if the data transmission itself is secure, the data will eventually reside on a server somewhere.  Servers containing banking information and credit card information are routinely hacked.  Utilities are hacked.  Satellites are hacked.  Military drones are hacked.  The only information that cannot somehow be compromised is information that is never transmitted or stored.

More to come….

Oklahoma Activist Gets the Hammer

Kaye Beach

June 3, 2011

As reported first by the Red Dirt Reporter, Andrew Griffin, The Sooner Tea Party’s HQ was burglarized last weekend.

Sooner Tea Party offices ransacked, records stolen

http://www.reddirtreport.com/Story.aspx/18661

Here is the Red Dirt Report follow up;

Rumored “threats” against Gerhart, Sooner Tea Party may be linked to burglary

OKLAHOMA CITY – Several days after discovering the headquarters of the Sooner Tea Party was burglarized over the Memorial Day weekend, organization leader Al Gerhart told Red Dirt Report late Thursday that he suspects it to be politically motivated.

And from NewsOK.com

Sooner Tea Party headquarters burglarized

. . . the burglars took a lot of Sooner Tea Party records, but passed over expensive tools and equipment in the west Oklahoma City carpentry shop where he kept the records. An air-conditioner and a laptop computer Gerhart used for his business were the most expensive items Gerhart mentioned as being taken.

Gerhart said he found his 2009 and 2010 tax records stacked by the door, but the burglars apparently forgot to load them

Read more

It isn’t only Gerhart who suspects that this is politically motivated.  I would venture so far as to say that it is obviously politically motivated and that is something that should concern every citizen of this state.

As I was informed recently by one irate legislator who had no qualms about venting fury at Al Gerhart by proxy-We all look the same to them

On May 19, 2011, I wrote,

Rep. Don Armes, upset over calls to his office made by the Sooner Tea Party’s Al Gerhart unleashed his fury on the two women in the House Lobby in front of a large number of astonished onlookers consisting of Capitol staff, lobbyists and visitors.  The tirade lasted for several minutes and despite protests from the pair of signature gatherers that they have no control over the actions of other activists, Armes continued with his finger in the face tirade against Gerhart saying “You all look the same to me!”

The insult to Oklahoma voters committed by Rep.  Armes yesterday is by no means the only contentious event that Oklahoma taxpayers have been treated to this session and . . . it certainly won’t be the last.

So what we are seeing, as noted in Rule #6 of AxXiom’s Ten Rules for Activists to Live By, the highest nail gets the hammer. 

Without a shadow of a doubt, that nail is Al Gerhart. 

He has made it a mission to get under the skin of legislators.  I encountered more than one irritated lawmaker when I was trying to collect signatures for the discharge petition at the end of session.  I asked one if Gerhart had done anything illegal. Had he lied or slandered them?  If so, there are legal remedies for that otherwise they are just being aggravated and this, I think, must rather go with the territory.

We should thank Mr. Gerhart for one thing, that by comparison, he makes the rest of us seem like very short nails.

There are activists and advocates for every issue under the sun.  I am personally most familiar with advocates for limited, constitutional government.  Under that heading we have activists that advocate for legal adherence to all ten of the Ten Amendments to the Bill of Rights. Most commonly this includes (but is not limited to) the First, Second, Fourth and Tenth Amendments, but also advocates for specific issues of peace, privacy, parental rights, freedom of information and transparency, free enterprise, sovereignty, property rights and more.

What do you really care about?  Is there any issue that you feel strongly enough about to;

  • Make a phone call or write an email?
  • Make a personal visit to a legislator?
  • Join a political interest group?
  • Hold a meeting?

Is there any issue that you feel is important enough to create or circulate a petition for?  How about leafleting or participating in a non violent demonstration or rally? 

If you can’t think of any issue that you feel passionate enough about that you would willing to do at least one of those things for, then stop reading here.

Comments on Facebook don’t count.

I am talking about political activism also known as civic duty. 

Whatever political circles you move in, left or right or anywhere in between, whatever your pet issue is, you are going to choose the type of activity that suits your sensibilities.  I will be honest.  My preferred method of advocacy is doing research to gather the facts that support my position and then using persuasion to get others to see it my way.  I don’t like pressure tactics.  I don’t like them used on me and I don’t like to use them on others.  It’s not my way.  Having said that, I really believe with all of my heart that our government has no legal or moral right to surveil, track, or monitor me or anyone else without probable cause.  I think that in our government doing so we are harmed legally and spiritually and furthermore I truly believe that if such practices are permitted it will be the end of everything that is beautiful about living in this country.  I believe than doing anything less than what I am capable of to stop this I bear responsibility for leaving an ugly and un-free America to my child and every other child that is born or will be in this country.  I admit, in this, I am zealous.

I am zealous enough that when research and persuasion has failed me I have resorted to the next level of activism including organizing meetings, mass calls and emails, demonstrations, petitions and the like.  I also reserve my right to participate in non-violent civil disobedience and would accept the responsibility for doing so.

What are you willing to do to protect your natural and legal rights?

Next question.

Could any of the activities you may envision possibly annoy, aggravate or confound any of your legislators? 

If so, there is not a shred of difference between you and me and Al Gerhart for that matter.

The highest nail….right now that nail is Gerhart.  He’s getting the hammer.

You all look the same to them.

Who’s next?

Utah Campus Cops Out Sneaky Gun Grabbers, Get Put on Leave

Jan 12, 2011

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

First published Jan 04 2011
Updated Jan 5, 2011

A pair of University of Utah public safety officers are on paid administrative leave after internal guidelines that would ban the open carrying of firearms were made public.

Gun rights activists say such a policy violates state law, and legislators are getting involved in the dispute.

Zachary Wellman, a security guard at University Hospital, said he and another campus police officer were put on leave last week after Wellman shared the guidelines with a friend, who took the U. protocols to gun advocacy groups and state lawmakers.

Wellman said he did it because he believed U. lawyers were going around the Legislature to rewrite the law.

“They’re saying we don’t want [visible guns] on campus, but state law is they have to accept it because they’re a state university,” Wellman told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It is a huge issue because they’re circumventing the Utah law and the university president is now making the law, which they have no power to do.”

In a memo sent to U. Police Chief Scott Folsom last April, President Michael Young wrote that “having weapons in plain sight on this campus creates a fearful and intimidating campus environment.”

Read More

 

Tulsa International Airport National Opt Out Day

Majority of Americans Now Oppose Body Scanners and TSA Pat Downs

A new poll by Zogby International finds that 61% of Americans polled between Nov. 19 and Nov. 22 oppose the use of full body scans and TSA pat downs.  Of those polled, 52% believe the enhanced security measures will not prevent terrorist activity, almost half (48%) say it is a violation of privacy rights, 33% say they should not have to go through enhanced security methods to get on an airplane, and 32% believe the full body scans and TSA pat downs to be sexual harassment. The Zogby Poll is the most recent survey of American opinion on the new airport screening procedures. Combined with earlier polls by USA Today and the Washington Post-ABC News, the Zogby Poll reflects declining support for the TSA program.

If you would like to participate in educating travelers on passenger security tomorrow, please refer to guidelines provided by TUL;

Tulsa International Airport Permission and Rules for Leafletting 11-24-2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 anytime between 5 AM an 10pm

Where: Tulsa International Airport
7777 E. Apache St.
Tulsa, OK 74115

MAP

Find out more

EPIC

http://wewontfly.com/
Flyers

Tips for helping you Survive Your Government Grope

NOTE: Even if you choose to go through a scanner (which will produce a picture of you naked and subject you to radiation)* you still may get pulled out for an “Enhanced Pat Down Search.”  Before a TSA employee puts their hand on you – insist that they put on a clean gloves. Here is a short list of parasites and infections that could be transferred from an earlier passenger to you:

(* The only people who say that the scanners are safe are the government and the companies

selling the machines. BUT both made sure you could not sue them when you get cancer before they would put the machines in airports: www.SafteyAct.gov).

National Opt Out Day TSA Flyer

Link  http://wewontfly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/YouHaveTheRight.pdf

What the TSA Isn’t Telling You

Board votes for Taser, spray use on juveniles

Board votes for Taser, spray use on juveniles

By BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau Published: 10/17/2009 2:23 AM Last Modified: 10/17/2009 5:12 AM

Teen-Dies-After-Police-Use-Taser-on-Him

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Board of Juvenile Affairs on Friday moved ahead with plans for legislation and rules to allow the use of pepper spray and Taser devices in secure facilities. The vote was 3-2. A motion to table the proposal by Linda Ware Toure, a board member, failed to get a second. She and board member Donnie Nero voted against the proposal to move forward with the plan. The board will have to pass rules governing when Tasers and chemical spray can be used, said Gene Christian, Office of Juvenile Affairs director. The devices could be used only in very specific situations, he said, adding that it would be June or July at the earliest before the policy could take effect if the legislation were passed and signed. Rep. Wade Rousselot, D-Okay, said he intends to sponsor legislation that would allow OJA staff to use chemical spray and or Tasers to protect themselves and obtain control of juveniles in a facility. “What you are looking at is an effort to address symptoms rather than root causes,” said Jon Trzcinski, a former OJA employee who is now a consultant. He urged the agency to look at what is causing the violence, which could involve the classification system, staffing levels or staff training. In some cases, people go into cardiac arrest after being the target of a Taser gun, Trzcinski said, noting the agency could open itself to lawsuits with costly settlements.

Tasers, in my opinion, have no place in a juvenile facility,”

// <![CDATA[//

he said.

Christian said pepper spray is not particularly unusual in juvenile facilities, but Tasers are.

In February, the Board of Juvenile Affairs reviewed the issue but took no action, Christian said. It returned to the agenda at the request of Rousselot, he said.

Read More;

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=16&articleid=20091017_16_A1_OLHMIY140317

Recent survery

Relation of Taser (Electrical Stun

Gun) Deployment to Increase in

In-Custody Sudden Deaths

Byron K. Lee, MDa, Eric Vittinghoff, PhDc, Dean Whiteman, BSa, Minna Parka, Linda L. Lau, BSb, Zian H. Tseng, MDaCorresponding Author Informationemail addressReceived 3 October 2008; received in revised form 18 November 2008; accepted 18 November 2008. published online 22 January 2009.

Despite controversy concerning their safety, use of electrical stun guns (Tasers) by law enforcement agencies is increasing. We examined the effect of Taser deployment on rates of (1) in-custody sudden deaths in the absence of lethal force, (2) lethal force (firearm) deaths, and (3) officer injuries (OIs) requiring emergency room visits. Under the Public Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act, 126 police and sheriff departments from California cities were mailed surveys requesting rates of each of the outcomes of interest for each of the 5 years preceding Taser deployment through the 5 years after deployment. To control for population size and crime rates, we used total annual arrests per city as reported to the Department of Justice. Fifty cities provided predeployment and postdeployment data on in-custody sudden death, 21 cities reported firearm deaths, and 4 cities reported OIs. The rate of in-custody sudden death increased 6.4-fold (95% confidence interval 3.2-12.8, p = 0.006) and the rate of firearm death increased 2.3-fold (95% confidence interval 1.3–4.0, p = 0.003) in the in the first full year after Taser deployment compared with the average rate in the 5 years before deployment. In years 2 to 5 after deployment, rates of the 2 events decreased to predeployment levels. We observed no significant change in the rate of serious OIs after Taser deployment. In conclusion, although considered by some a safer alternative to firearms, Taser deployment was associated with a substantial increase in in-custody sudden deaths in the early deployment period, with no decrease in firearm deaths or serious OIs.