Here's more evidence that "Big Brother" is much more likely to be incorporated than elected. While last week we had a story about Nielsen and Arbitron tracking what billboards people use by putting GPS devices in their cars, it sounds like they don't even need to be so specific any more. Arbitron is running a trial where they give people their very own portable people meter - a pager sized device that automatically tracks whatever media you happen to be consuming (TV, radio) while also noting your location. They say the device can accurately link things like what TV shows you like and how they correlate with which stores your prefer to shop at. And they get people to carry these things around for them? Beyond just the basic issue of having yet another device to hang onto (I've run out of pockets, personally), it's fairly stunning what sorts of information many people are just willing to give up. The article is a little short on details about how the device works, so I'm a little unclear on how it automatically knows what channels you're surfing and if it's using GPS to track your location.
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