Privacy-Aware Design In The Smart Grid: Technological And Economic Perspectives

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Technologists today aspire to apply data to solve a wide array of problems to advance quality of life and prosperity. However, actors across civil society have been wary of new technologies that implement analytical approaches supported by granular data, arguing this new age in which data is readily processed for immediate profit exploits the civil liberties - in particular, the rights to privacy - of the citizen. The power industry, with novel data mining technologies pervading smart grid systems throughout the United States and the world, is no stranger to this revolution. This dissertation demonstrates the consumer privacy concerns of smart grid technologies and addresses them, first by proposing a technical framework for their privacy-aware design, and then by examining the economic conditions required for privacy adoption by relevant stakeholders. We first illustrate the privacy hazards of collecting temporally precise, fine-granularity data in advanced metering applications by showing that residential consumption data can readily be modeled statistically. We then consider privacyaware guidelines to design smart grid networks that protect consumer data. Recognizing that consumers are not the only stakeholders in the contest for their personal data, we then consider a competitive game between the individual consumer and the utility company, in which each attempts to maximize profit, with payoffs including gains appreciated from fine-granularity power consumption data. With the aid of this game theoretic framework, we then determine the economic conditions required to motivate stakeholders in the power industry to adopt privacy-aware smart metering at equilibrium. To determine the optimal regulatory framework for introducing smart metering technology to the power industry, we subsequently consider a set of potential regulatory regimes and examine consumer choices under each as single-player decision processes. Finding that the average consumer's valuation of smart metering privacy is essential in determining the ultimate adoption rates of privacy-aware smart metering systems under each regulatory regime, we present the results of a national survey conducted to estimate this valuation level. Finally, considering these results, we present a series of policy recommendations to address privacy concerns as they relate to power consumption data and, more widely, collection of bulk data.

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privacy; security; smart grid; power; big data; smart meter; electric vehicle; game theory; government; policy


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Wicker, Stephen B.

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Mount, Timothy Douglas
Schulze, William D

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Electrical Engineering

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Ph. D., Electrical Engineering

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Doctor of Philosophy

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dissertation or thesis

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