Activity-aware privacy protection for smart water meters

Rachel Cardell-Oliver, Harrison Carter-Turner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review

Abstract

Identifying water end-uses from household meter readings yields valuable insights of commercial and environmental value for both customers and water providers. But smart water meter data may expose sensitive information about the activities of metered households. This paper considers the case where a water provider wishes to publish a database of household water meter traces to be used by water analysts for research and planning purposes. We consider the risks to privacy should an adversary gain access to this database, with the threat of uniquely identifying a household of interest and exposing their water use activities. Previous work shows that the effectiveness of privacy protection techniques is strongly domain and application dependent, but few privacy studies have considered smart water metering. This paper introduces a framework for activity-aware privacy protection for databases of household smart water meters and evaluates its effectiveness using real-world and synthetic datasets. We found that privacy-protection is strongly dependent on the type of activity. Aggregating readings protects households from disclosure of small scale and common activities. For individualistic, infrequent activities such as garden watering or clothes washing, we found that data-aware sampling of households and seasons offers the best protection.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBuildSys 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 ACM International Conference on Systems for Energy-Efficient Built Environments
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages31-40
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450391146
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2021
Event8th ACM International Conference on Systems for Energy-Efficient Built Environments, BuildSys 2021 - Virtual, Online, Portugal
Duration: 17 Nov 202118 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameBuildSys 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 ACM International Conference on Systems for Energy-Efficient Built Environments

Conference

Conference8th ACM International Conference on Systems for Energy-Efficient Built Environments, BuildSys 2021
Country/TerritoryPortugal
CityVirtual, Online
Period17/11/2118/11/21

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