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[ale] Wandering OT: Re: Car PC's and internet radio?



Your mind is devious and your thoughts are rather frightening.

So if Google buys satellite radio and the infamous web-site tracking
company DoubleClick and strikes a deal with Facebook and MySpace...

On Tue, 2007-04-17 at 01:31 -0400, Jeff Hubbs wrote:
> 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).  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?
> 
> 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. 
> 
> 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.  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. 
> 
> 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. 
> 
> Let me give a simplified illustration.  Suppose that when you apply for
> a subscription, you're asked to supply your eye color - green, brown, or
> blue - and you do so truthfully.  Then, every day at exactly noon, all
> of the channels sends out three voice announcements at the same time. 
> Based on the subscription data and the associated receiver
> identification, all of the green-eyed subscribers hear the noon
> announcement say "Your eyes are green" - and likewise for all of the
> blue-eyed and brown-eyed subscribers.  All of the subscribers note the
> seeming omniscience of the XM system, but they know that "seeming" is
> all it is because they realize that they were asked their eye color when
> they signed up for XM service. 
> 
> But, in my simplified example, the per-subscriber selection is done
> using information that the subscriber knowingly supplied.  If the XM
> provider has taken your knowingly-supplied data and cross-referenced it
> to other data that they obtain on you, the XM provider can mess with you
> in all kinds of ways.  Remember Amazon's "recommendations?"  If the XM
> provider knows about music purchases you've made through any number of
> outlets, a music channel can select songs for you that the system thinks
> you'll like, in hopes that you'll go buy them (isn't it convenient that
> the song and artist is displayed for you on the receiver's panel?).  You
> will have been, in effect, turned into a node in a buying cluster.
> 
> If the system *does* know your channel selections for all time, then the
> data mining that becomes possible and the actions that can be taken as a
> result of that mining take on a bizarre dimension.  People hearing
> primarily news stories that either please or disquiet them, as a
> function of whether or not the XM provider wants their subscribers to
> feel pleased or disquieted at any given moment.  Different people
> hearing different versions of the same politician's speech, even if the
> difference is only one of inflection or tenor. 
> 
> C. 2001 and the advent of digital cable, I realized that two-way
> communication between the cable box and the cable provider was a
> near-certainty (in fact, a decade earlier, I remembered Cox Cable and
> their set-top boxes that "phoned home" over POTS to transmit
> God-knows-what back to the "mothership").  I predicted that that
> capability would be used to select content on a per-subscriber basis,
> and articles I read in subsequent years bore my prediction out. 
> 
> Ever since the dawn of mass media, there has been this societal
> understanding that a given "media unit" - a commercial, a newspaper, a
> magazine, a radio program, a magazine, etc. - was the same for all who
> received it.  Our modern culture has banked on that understanding - that
> if you went up to me and said, "Hey, did you see Letterman last night?"
> and I answered in the affirmative, then it is implicit that you and I
> both saw the same Letterman.  That concept is beginning to break down,
> if only because there is such an incredible barrage of material
> available on television 24/7 that the chances that you and I saw the
> same show on any given night are progressively diminishing.  But the
> fact of the matter is that bandwidth and storage growth, rising as they
> are on near-exponential rails, is making possible a non-commonality of
> experience and knowledge that one would normally associate with
> pre-civilization humanity. 
> 
> Crystal-clear CD-quality sound?  No commercials?  All the Yiddish polka
> I could ever want?  Gotta love that!
> 
> 
> Christopher Fowler wrote:
> > I guess I'm hanging around with some really cheap people on this list.
> > Or I may be too rich.  I do not think that $10+/mon for SAT radio is a
> > bad deal.  IMO it is a great deal.  I get to listen to what I want.  I
> > do not hear commercials.  when I do hear commercials (talk channels) it
> > is not some obnoxious car sales ad screaming out the speaker.  When I
> > travel the country I do not have to tune my radio every 100 miles.  The
> > sound quality is decent compared to FM.
> 
> _______________________________________________
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> http://www.ale.org/mailman/listinfo/ale
-- 
James P. Kinney III          
CEO & Director of Engineering 
Local Net Solutions,LLC        
770-493-8244                    
http://www.localnetsolutions.com

GPG ID: 829C6CA7 James P. Kinney III (M.S. Physics)
<jkinney at localnetsolutions.com>
Fingerprint = 3C9E 6366 54FC A3FE BA4D 0659 6190 ADC3 829C 6CA7
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