Annnnd here we go with California on the prowl for ‘water wasters.’

I cannot possibly see how this could end badly. “This” being a “smart meter” that gets installed on suspected “water wasters” (now there’s a phrase that didn’t take long to spring up, huh?) in – for now – Long Beach, California.  Once installed, it tracks for illegal water use – I cannot believe that I had to write that phrase in reference to an American state – and if it sees some it then finks out the treacherous kulak to the water department. All of this is done via the ‘cloud,’ because apparently this story is designed to be extra-painful to digital libertarians*.

Via Weasel Zippers and @BlissTabitha – and just let me give you three ways that this will, indeed, end badly.

  1. God help you if you’re a Californian business owner who has an enemy or business rival who will happily fink you out to the water squad.
  2. God help you if the smart meter isn’t actually all that smart. Because, hey, software never malfunctions, right?
  3. God may not help you if 1. or 2. occur, but a certain amount of unmarked tens and twenties tossed the water squad inspector’s way might.  Aye, it just might.

That last point is, by the way, the one that’s really dangerous to the Republic, although the first point can give it a run for its money. Or, sure, possibly even surpass it.  The point here is that this is a corruption scandal just waiting to happen – and, knowing California’s horrible luck these days, it’s a corruption scandal that will happen.

Well, that’s what you get for electing grasshoppers, instead of ants.  Maybe the next generation will have more sense…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Actual digital libertarians, that is.  Infosocialists will probably love this, up to the point where they find out that the State People’s Glorious Revolutionary Water Directorate has been monitoring their shower feed.


12 thoughts on “Annnnd here we go with California on the prowl for ‘water wasters.’”

  1. It would just be a shame if these were vandalized. With hammers.
    Given the amount of copper wiring theft going in in CA, I would bet some rumors will start that will accomplish the objective. Without involving the declining number of good citizens left in the state.

  2. So what are the chances the water secret police (secret water police? The Right Hand of Gaia?) will vigorously enforce against some groups but look the other way for other, more favored, groups?

    1. If it’s anything like power companies work, analyzing the data is often outsourced to other companies that are paid for finding theft and broken meters and given my experience in the industry, I can assure you the only thing that motivates us in choosing to investigate one case over another is how much we’ll make if we discover something there. Can’t speak to what power companies actually do with what we send them (or even what our competitors do), but there’s certainly no agenda beyond making a profit at the data analysis end.

        1. Heh. Take a garden hose. Locate the hose valve on your house, and one on your neighbors’ house. Connect the two. Turn off your water main valve.
          You are now using your neighbors’ water.

          1. Or do what a buddy of mine actually did. Sink a secret point in your basement and install a pump. Use just enough city water so as not to draw attention and pump the rest yourself. As long as the water table isn’t super deep, it’s a surprisingly easy thing to do.

          2. Heh. Everyplace I’ve lived where private wells are more common, one condition of access to the county and/or muni water system is that the existing private well must be *certified* plugged, i.e. plugged and inspected.
            Don’t get caught…
            Also, be careful what you use water from a shallow well for .. it’s fine for flushing toilets or watering the lawn, but given the potential impurities (keyword: Lockformer spill) it’s not something I’d use on or put into my bod without periodic testing.

  3. Other grasshoppers elected the office-holding grasshoppers, so I suspect that things will get much worse and much more squabblous before things get better.

  4. “Water wasters,” huh? So when does the term “water wasters” become “water shortage deniers?”

    1. There isn’t a water shortage in California. There’s a cheap power shortage (since we have this handy ocean right there, we can get as much water as we want given sufficient electricity). So, y’know, shutting down a nuclear power plant is probably a bad idea …

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