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


I did not read this thread carefully, but people saying Jeff's idea of
a feedback channel is technically infeasible will never get a job with
big brother.

a) Piggy-back the feedback channel on the cell phone infrastructure.
We know those can be small and may take very little extra

b) Piggy-back the feedback channel on On*Star.  Already in tons of
cars/trucks that also have XM/Sirius.  New cars even have
communications buses iirc.  (ie. Airplanes have had standard buses for
25 years at least.  Cars are playing catchup.  Not sure if they have
got there yet or not.)

c) Add a small amount of nvram and record a log of listening habits.
When you happen to drive/walk by a McDonalds, Wendys, GM Dealer, etc.
use a bluetooth connection to upload the history.

Personally, I think the last choice is the cheapest/most reliable and
there are lots of nationwide retail presences to partner with.

Your Big Brother recruitment center signing off.

On 4/17/07, Jeff Hubbs <hbbs at comcast.net> 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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Greg Freemyer
The Norcross Group
Forensics for the 21st Century