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[ale] XM redux...

> OK, this leads me to ask something I've been wondering about.
> I don't know how many channels one can select from with XM/Sirius
> (hereafter, simply XM), but I understand that it's A Lot (i.e., more
> than 100).  
XM is currently 170.
I own 4 of these receivers... and next to my
Tivo it's the best $6.95 x 4 a month I spend!
> My question is, does the XM receiver actually receive all of
> the data stream from all of the channels at once and select from among
> them (which is what in effect occurs with terrestrial radio), or is
> something transmitted from the receiver upstream when the XM radio is
> turned on or when a channel is selected?
It receives all channels simultaneously and the streaming stock quotes 
These signals are sent from the satellite and simultaneously as a 
terrestrial sub-carrier.
> If the latter is in fact the case, I find the notion chilling due to the
> social engineering implications of a mass medium in which the medium
> knows exactly what each and every recipient is receiving, present and
> past. 
I'm sure they wish they knew who was listening to what.
But they don't.
> It is my understanding that each XM receiver must have an associated
> subscription, and I surmise that each subscription has an associated
> receiver owner identification.  
that is correct
> If "the system" is told by each receiver
> what channel to receive, then every subscriber would have an
> ever-lengthening dataset showing what program, song, announcement - any
> program material at all - was output by the receiver(s) covered by their
> subscription. 
The radio never communicates with the satellite.
Only the reverse it true.
> I can already imagine people who haven't sufficiently assembled two and
> two saying, "I don't care if 'they' [single quotes mine] know what I'm
> listening to."
> Indeed?
> Let me run some scenarios by you, just based on the premise that "they"
> have a dataset of your XM radio channel selections and yours alone.
>     * Your employer pays the XM provider to obtain a list of channels
>       you listen to and when you listen to them.  This information is
>       used against you at performance review time to suggest that you're
>       listening to the radio when you should be working. 
>     * You have a car accident involving another party and you are either
>       sued by or suing the other party.  The other party's attorneys
>       purchase your XM radio data and testify in court that you changed
>       channels on your radio five times in the thirty seconds before the
>       accident, implying to the jury that you were excessively
>       distracted while driving. 
>     * A highly liberal employer in an "At-Will" state decides you listen
>       to a little too much Sean Hannity for their taste.  Your "position
>       is eliminated."
> Include the notion of *everyone's* channel data being recorded for all
> time and you can begin to see the amount of power that an XM provider
> can potentially wield - the closest thing you can reasonably imagine to
> a remotely-controlled populace existing in the world of today. 
> It occurs to me that even if XM radio is strictly one-way, the nature of
> the system is such that the provider can make program material
> selectable on a per-radio basis. 
That is true. You can block whatever stations you want by going on-line and
telling them to do it.

Brian, W1DOC