Fujitsu Laboratories of America has developed technology that enhances Green Button, an industry-led initiative that aims to improve Americans’ access to their own energy usage information by enabling both privacy control by utility customers and data integrity verification by service providers.
Green Button allows customers to download their electricity usage data from utilities to manage their energy and also share this data with third-party service providers that may offer new online application tools and services. The Fujitsu technology allows customers to tell if the data they receive from utilities has been tampered with or forged.
Fujitsu hopes that this will lead to broad adoption of customer-centric energy usage data management and support demand response aggregation service providers who calculate an incentive to be paid to each customer based on fair assessment of the performance using the provided usage data.
To protect privacy, it is important for customers to have the flexibility to control the amount of data that is disclosed when interacting with service providers, Fujitsu says. For example, in the case of demand response aggregation service, a customer can minimize the privacy concern by only showing data corresponding to the demand response event period while hiding other data which can keep sensitive information, such as lifestyles, invisible to the demand response aggregator.
To ensure the authenticity of data, Fujitsu has developed a redactable digital signature function tailored for use with electricity usage data. Since energy usage data is usually represented only with numbers, traditional redactable signature schemes may not be robust enough against brute-force attacks aimed at revealing the hidden data. Fujitsu’s redactable signature scheme makes brute-force attacks difficult by using the same data or sequence of data to generate different cryptographic hash values for each customer and for each time period. By extending the standard Green Button data schema, the mechanism is integrated in such a way that a Green Button payload can convey a digital signature and other metadata required for redaction, the company says.
In May, Ecova and San Diego Gas & Electric announced plans to help SDG&E’s commercial clients have visibility into meter data through Ecova’s Meter Dashboard and the Green Button provided by SDG&E.