Cities are getting paid to turn street lights into spying SmartNodes

From the National Motorists Association

NMA E-Newsletter #458
October 22, 2017

From guest writer, Joe Cadillic, of the MassPrivatal blog

[Links in original article]

The future of privacy in big cities is bleak­—cities are now getting paid to convert street lights into spying SmartNodes. What are SmartNodes you ask? SmartNodes will soon replace street lights, because they are equipped with cameras, microphones, speakers, etc., all-in-one light pole. For example, the city of Los Angeles, California is working with Philips Lighting and ENE-HUB to turn 110,000 street lights into a one-of-a-kind citywide SmartNode surveillance network.

“The Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting and Philips Lighting have collaborated on a program that uses CityTouch connected street lighting management and connected sensors to obtain additional value from the public lighting system.”

Philips SmartPoles are equipped with ‘environmental noise monitoring’ microphones, which can be used to spy on ‘raucous neighbors and loud music’.

“The city of Los Angeles is leveraging their connected street lighting infrastructure to actively monitor and manage noise levels on the streets. Using existing connected street lights, the city has installed microphones to collect noise data at the street level.”

Where could the music be coming from you ask?

Philips doesn’t say, but you can bet they mean people, vehicles and homes. Which means, SmartPoles can listen to more than just noise.

Click here to watch Philips Lighting admit SmartPoles are great data collecting conduits. In the video, Remco Muijs boasts that Philips and the city of Los Angeles are working together to host third-party sensors that influence people’s behavior, because nothing says influencing people’s behavior, quite like 110,000 spying street lights. (There are a number of YouTube videos from Philips about their Smart Cities Initiative.)

An article on the (PTC Technology) website reveals that private companies are paying cities $1200 yearly for each SmartPole they install.

“The streetlight-based cells will generate revenues by being leased to wireless providers. The City of Los Angeles will receive $1200 per year for each SmartPole. The installation of 100 IoT-connected streetlights is currently in process in Los Angeles. Philips and the city plan to expand the network to 600 streetlights by 2018. Philips, under a tech development pilot program, is also installing 50 SmartPoles in The City of San Jose.”

To translate that into dollar figures, if Los Angeles turns 110,000 light poles into SmartPole’s the city would make approximately $13.2 million a year.

And with that much money at stake, it won’t be long before every city in America turns their street lights into money making, spying SmartPoles.

According to the ENE-HUB’s website, here are just some of the components that the smart lights poles could provide to cities.

  • Telecommunications
  • RBG Beacon Light
  • Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi detectors
  • Two-way Help Buttons equipped with microphone and speaker
  • Public Announcement speakers
  • LED Street and roadway lighting
  • Community messaging
  • Parking management
  • Data capture
  • Surveillance
  • Microphone
  • People counting
  • Electric vehicle car charging
  • Travel card readers
  • Traditional smart pole functions (signage, traffic and lighting)

ENE-HUB’s ‘benefits’ section admits that governments can use multiple revenue streams to spy on their citizens for 25-30 years. (Click here to watch ENE-HUB’s smart city video.)

Los Angeles’ KCRW radio report also revealed that ENEHUB’s, SmartNode’s could also be equipped with ‘video streaming and gunshot sensors connected to police and fire stations’.

One can assume that in the near future, SmartNode’s will also be equipped with E-ZPass readers and license plate readers.

Unfortunately, Philips Lighting and ENE-HUB aren’t the only ones trying to turn entire cities into giant surveillance networks.

Siemens, GE, Cisco, LED lighting maker Acuity Brands and mall developer Simon Property Group are also installing spying SmartNodes across the country.

After writing numerous articles about Smart Cities, SmartPoles and SmartNodes one thing becomes crystal clear. They are all about corporate/government surveillance and making money off of the backs of citizens.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the author. For additional information on smart street furniture, check out the NMA Driving Freedoms Magazine Winter 2017 edition.

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Breaking: New York utility company ordered to stop charging “opt-out” fees

Central Hudson Gas & Electric was ordered Thursday to stop charging residential customers a $6 monthly “opt-out” fee if they refused meters the utility can read remotely because they fear that microwave radiation from the meters will harm their health.

The decision by the state Public Service Commission rescinded the approval it gave Central Hudson in 2014 to impose the fees. Central Hudson, the company supplying electricity and natural gas to parts of Orange and Ulster counties and other Hudson Valley areas, had asked to charge customers who opted to keep conventional meters to cover the costs of paying workers to visit their homes to read them.

In its decision on Thursday, the commission also required Central Hudson to make “non-communicating, solid-state” meters available to customers who request them. It did allow the utility to charge customers a one-time fee to replace an already-installed automated electric meter with a conventional one.

Central Hudson had been installing automated meter-reading devices since 1990 and had them on 39 percent of its residential customers’ homes when the commission approved the fees. In granting approval in 2014, the commission declared there was no evidence that low-level radio waves from the meter readers posed “a significant health risk.” But opponents of “smart meters,” including Stop Smart Meters Woodstock, fought the fees over the next three years, and won on Thursday.

The decision coincided with a talk on “Smart Meters and Wireless Health Hazards” on Thursday night at the Orange County Citizens Foundation headquarters in Sugar Loaf. Scheduled to speak at the forum were David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at SUNY Albany; Michael Sussman, the civil rights attorney; and Deborah Kopald, an environmental consultant.

cmckenna at

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BREAKING: California governor vetoes SB 649 and small cell towers statewide

Governor Jerry Brown press release (last item)

From the San Jose Mercury News

October 16, 2017

California: Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes bill easing permits on cell phone towers

Gov. Jerry Brown late Sunday vetoed Senate Bill 649, which proposed to scale back local government permit processes for antennas and equipment for wireless services.

By TRACY SEIPEL | | Bay Area News Group

PUBLISHED: October 16, 2017 at 12:25 am | UPDATED: October 16, 2017 at 4:17 am

SACRAMENTO — A bill co-authored by a Bay Area assemblyman that would have blocked the ability of cities and counties to control the installation of microwave radiation antennas was vetoed just before midnight Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

In a signing statement, Brown wrote: “​There is something of real value in having a process that results in extending this ​innovative technology rapidly and efficiently.”

Nevertheless, he noted, “I believe the interest which localities have in managing rights of way requires a more balanced solution than the one achieved in this bill.”

Brown served as the mayor of Oakland from 1999 to 2007.

Senate Bill 649, authored by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego and co-authored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, proposed to scale back permit processes for antennas and equipment in an effort to meet demand for wireless services.

The bill was primarily supported by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, the main trade group for the U.S. wireless telecommunications industry. The group said SB 649 would help boost the economy.

Yet the bill had alarmed many local government officials around the state. They worried if SB 649 became law, it would cap how much they could charge phone companies for leases to $250 a year. Activists, meanwhile, were concerned about the risk to public health from cell towers.

I am thrilled that Governor Brown showed strength and stood up to this powerful wireless industry and said no — you are not going to do this in my state!” Ellen Marks, a San Francisco-based leader of the California Alliance for Safer Technology, wrote in an email  after Brown’s decision was posted online.

This is a tremendous victory for democracy,” said Marks, whose group is trying to keep cellular antennas away from homes, schools, offices and parks.

A CTIA spokeswoman said the bill maintained local authority for “small cell” antennas, particularly in historical or coastal areas, and that governments could recover capital and administrative costs.

But San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo was among several Bay Area leaders who voiced their opposition to the bill, and he did so again in an Oct. 3 opinion piece published in the New York Times.

In it, Liccardo argued that if enacted into law, SB 649 would override local authority to set lease rates, supplant local jurisdiction rights to decide how to deploy telecommunications equipment over public areas, and wouldn’t require those companies to expand broadband access to low-income neighborhoods.

Grass-roots activists and scientists said that if SB 649 became law, a projected 50,000 new cellular antennas would be installed on public buildings and utility poles in California neighborhoods, creating a risk to public health because of the dangers of radiation and electromagnetic frequencies emitted by cell towers.

Quirk and Hueso called that criticism by scientists of their legislation overblown, saying the cell towers are safe. Yet repeated calls this summer by the Bay Area News Group to the Washington, D.C.-based CTIA seeking comment on potential health concerns related to cellular antennas were never returned by any spokesperson.

At the time, Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, told the Bay Area New Group that the trade group habitually ducks publicly addressing the health risks of cell antennas.

The CTIA “never says it’s safe because the industry will be in deep water when the lawsuits play out finally before a jury,’’ said Moskowitz, who has studied and written about the issue for eight years.

In an email to the Bay Area News Group late Sunday, Moskowitz was heartened by Brown’s veto, coming on the heels of a federal appeals court ruling last week that supports Berkeley’s landmark cell phone “right to know” ordinance.

The city law, which took effect last year, requires retailers to warn cellphone customers that wearing their device next to the body could result in exposure to radio frequency radiation exceeding federal guidelines.

Cellphone retailers must either post the message or give a paper copy to people who buy or lease phones.

The Governor’s veto of SB 649 protects Californians from exposure to millimeter radiation from as many as 50,000 new cell towers,” wrote Moskowitz.

He noted that more than 180 scientists and doctors have signed a declaration calling for a moratorium on the increase of cell antennas required for 5G deployment, “as we are concerned about the health effects including neurological impacts, infertility, and cancer.”

Tracy Seipel is a health care writer for the Bay Area News Group. She’s based at The Mercury News.

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EU Appeal: Scientists and doctors call for moratorium on 5G, warn of serious health risks; RF-EMF proven harmful


September 13, 2017

We the undersigned, more than 180 scientists and doctors from 36 countries, recommend a moratorium on the roll-out of the fifth generation, 5G, for telecommunication until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry. 5G will
substantially increase exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on top of the 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, etc. for telecommunications already in place. RF-EMF has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment.


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Calgary: City auditors cite lack of confidence in water billing and water meters in wake of complaints

From the Calgary Herald

By Bill Kaufmann
September 10, 2017

In the wake of Calgarians’ complaints over drastic over-billing for water services, city auditors have expressed a lack of confidence in the process.

And a report to be delivered to the city’s auditing committee Thursday also states malfunctioning water meters and a lack of internal communication have contributed to the inaccuracies.

“In mid-2016, the Water Utility experienced a number of meter read failures due to faulty Encoder Receiver Transmitters (ERTs) on water meters,” states the Sept. 5 report that covers Jan. 1, 2016, to May 30, 2017.

“The Water Utility identified accounts where estimated reads continued for ‘a number of months’ and were not identified, resulting in large retrospective customer bills.”

A number of Enmax customers have complained about monthly water and wastewater bills running into the thousands of dollars when a normal monthly invoice would be around $100.

Some say they were away from home during those unexpectedly high billings and insisted they’ve had no major leaks or wastage in their water use.

While the city audit report expresses confidence that billing is taking place and at a proper annual rate, there’s “limited assurance over the completeness and accuracy of individual customer billing and accounts.”

Without proper reporting, says the report, it’s not clear whether the city or its arm’s-length utility Enmax are to blame for the billing lags, but it’s clear they “can create delay in receipt of revenue, unexpected financial burden on customers, and reputational risk to the city.”

Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu said he’s not surprised by the report, adding he’s had concerns over what he calls “smart meters” that have been relatively recently installed in many homes.

“Everything mechanical or digital can have problems, even the space shuttle,” said Chu.

“There’s always error, nothing’s guaranteed and you have to recognize it — we have to be honest with ourselves.”

Late last month, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said those stuck with outrageous water bills will be reimbursed and charged an average monthly billing instead.

He also said the city will investigate the cause of the over-charging and the accuracy of water meters.

A notice of motion being brought by Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart in the upcoming council meeting Monday is pushing for those measures and others, including determining if all water entering some Calgarians’ homes is being improperly billed as wastewater — effectively a double-charge.

Chu, a member of the audit committee, said he’s in favour of all those moves.

“We should take the average of people’s usage and charge only that,” he said. “Nobody’s saying they should get free water.”

Though he hadn’t read it fully, committee member Coun. Richard Pootmans said the audit report’s recommendation that meter issues be tracked and reporting improved are consistent with Colley-Urquhart’s notice of motion.

“Between the audit report and Colley-Urquhart’s notice of motion, most of the issues related to the audit report will be addressed,” he said.

“In a way, this is a process that’s working, problems are being addressed.”

Pootmans, who’s not running for re-election this fall, said he’s confident the next council and its committees will solve the over-billing problems to Calgarians’ satisfaction.

“If there are some gaps that need to be addressed, let’s address them,” he said.

In a written statement, Enmax spokeswoman Gina Sutherland said the audit is one targeting City of Calgary processes and that it “isn’t related to the recent customer inquiries involving unexpected high consumption situations.”

She reiterated the company is engaged in an independent review of its systems.

“We have already committed to the city water utility that we will fully support them in their implementation of any process improvements that may be identified in the audit,” added Sutherland.

On Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

City auditors cite lack of confidence in water billing, meters in wake of complaints

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California legislature recognizes people with electromagnetic sensitivities as disabled

Since May, the California Legislature has provided ADA accommodation for people disabled by electromagnetic sensitivities (EMS). This is the first California legislative session to acknowledge EMS and to arrange accommodation and access for the EMF-disabled so that they can participate at hearings.

On Wednesday, July 12, California Assembly leaders provided the most extensive accommodation to date at a hearing on Senate Bill 649 (Hueso). Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee Chairman Miguel Santiago said, “The Assembly’s Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator has received multiple requests for accommodation from individuals wishing to participate in this hearing,” and ”in an attempt to accommodate as many individuals as possible,” the committee a) made a special order of business with a “time certain” for the SB 649 hearing, so those with EMS could arrive for the hearing and then leave, reducing their EMF exposure b) provided remote telephone access for those too disabled by the indoor air quality to testify in person, and c) made a request to the audience to turn off the wireless on their cell phones or put them in airplane mode “as a courtesy to the electromagnetically sensitive.”

In a 1998 survey by the California Department of Health Services , 3.2% of respondents reported electromagnetic sensitivities, and .5% were unable to work or had to leave a job due to EMS. In 2001, California developed a Cleaner Air symbol for rooms and paths of travel that include reduced EMF. Disability due to electromagnetic sensitivities was recognized by the U.S. Federal Access Board in 2002, and the California State Architect’s office helped write the recommendations for accommodating those with EMS and with multiple chemical sensitivities published in the 2005 Federal Access Board report “Indoor Environmental Quality”.

Though additional measures and continuing dialogue are needed to accommodate all those who wish to attend state hearings and testify, particularly on matters related to their disability, this is a welcome first step for the disabled rights of these Californians.

Access Board

CDHS survey

Cleaner Air symbol:

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New Congress bill to finally require “basic” security for IoT devices purchased by the government…but not for the public

And then there are Smart Meters, with direct access to the electric grid.

It’s scary to realize that these are the national decisionmakers.

From CBS Local 4, Colorado

Is your refrigerator a national security risk?

By Shaun Boyd
September 12, 2017

WASHINGTON (CBS4) – The federal government is worried some refrigerators and coffee pots could pose a national security risk, and it’s taking action.

Colorado’s U.S. Senator Cory Gardner among a bi-partisan group of senators who are sponsoring legislation to secure the so-called Internet of Things – everyday devices that are embedded with computer chips and sensors.

Gardner says those devices can be used as weapons of mass disruption.

“The federal government orders billions of dollars worth of Internet of Things devices each and every year,” says Gardner. “These are things that can be hacked into. You can try to control systems, instruments with them. You can certainly read what people are doing and maybe even eavesdrop on a conversation people are having.”

Just last year baby monitors and webcams were used in a cyberattack that took down major websites like Twitter, Spotify and PayPal.

The devices serve as portals to networks.

As Chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, Gardner is sponsoring a bill that would require any internet-connected device purchased by the government meet basic security standards.

“Things like firewalling off information, requiring patchable and securable devices, making sure that you don’t have a hardcoded password from a factory that someone can have access to.”

He says many of the devices are imported and have little to no security making them highly vulnerable gateways into government systems that can be exploited by criminals and other countries.

“We’re facing kind of a brave new world when it comes to these things and we need to be prepared from a policy standpoint to address it. Everything around us is going to have to be looked at from a security perspective and what we are doing as country to advance innovation while make sure we are safeguarding people.”

The Internet of Things includes about 15 billion devices, from thermostats to appliances, but it could grow to 50 billion over the next few years.

While the legislation only applies to devices sold to the government, Gardner is hopeful the changes will carry over to those sold in the private sector.

cyber security bill 6pkg transfer frame 1390 Is Your Refrigerator A National Security Risk?
Sen. Cory Gardner
[Ed.: Sounds like locking the barn door after the horse has bolted, Sen. Gardner. Not very proactive and not very wise.] 

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience.

Is Your Refrigerator A National Security Risk?

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