The Digital Age has given impetus to new smart energy technology opportunities that are transformational and inspiring. However, a number of legal privacy and cybersecurity challenges present potential barriers to realizing these new economic, environmental and energy opportunities. This technological trend is best characterized as an energy-internet-of-things environment and is being driven by a rapid convergence and digitization of operational technology and information technology. This can be seen in the modernization of infrastructures, from power grids to smart cities, which increasingly weave together networked sensors and cyber and physical systems that enable big data to be collected, aggregated, exchanged, stored and monetized in new ways. This article explores and analyses these smart energy technology opportunities and challenges from a legal perspective, examining relevant privacy laws, torts and precedents, revealing some gaps in current privacy laws and cybersecurity regulations. Next, I analyse recent smart energy technology legislation passed in Europe and various states in the USA. Comparing and contrasting these laws in the European Union and USA is informative in their findings and different jurisdictional legal precedents. This analysis may provide valuable insight on how precedents on smart grid technology privacy and cybersecurity will establish future laws in jurisdictions where they are currently absent. These precedents and laws will also help inform evolving regulations, standards and legal precedents for internet-of-things technology that is woven into electricity infrastructure as part of grid modernizations efforts. While the legal literature outlining the challenges and potential solutions for privacy law and smart technology is at nascent stage, I conclude by listing a set of recommendations, which may apply ideas for future legal and scholarly research at the nexus of energy technology opportunities and legal privacy challenges.
Mylrea, M. (2017). Smart energy-internet-of-things opportunities require smart treatment of legal, privacy and cybersecurity challenges. Journal of World Energy Law and Business, 10(2), 147–158. https://doi.org/10.1093/jwelb/jwx001