FCC Gives Arbitron The Thumbs Up To Track Your Every Move

from the fun-for-the-whole-family dept

It's only been three years since started testing out its portable people meter that is supposed to automatically track whatever media you might be consuming at any particular time. Engadget points out that the device has now snagged the all important thumbs up from the FCC for the device. Of course, it's a bit creepy to think that some company is monitoring everything you watch, so Arbitron has apparently come up with a few numbers to show just how little people actually value their media monitoring habits: $5 per month with occasional bonuses here and there. Might not compare to the big tax break some have discussed for giving up your right to privacy -- but it is interesting to see a growing recognition that your privacy has a price.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Av, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 12:24pm

    Optional?

    Isn't this whole system totally optional, just like Nielsen?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Trouble Maker, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 12:46pm

    two cents worth

    This is a job for EULA, no one monitors me without my EULA, the information they retrieve from me is at cost; $1200.00 a day.

    Power to the people and use the EULA!

    Taking Information from me without paying for it is STEALING.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 12:54pm

    I'd happily take 5$ a day for someone monitoring my media habits... although, does this work on pirated mpegs?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 12:55pm

    Re:

    sorry, 5$ per month

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 1:09pm

    Choice.

    Infinite difference between somehthing I choose to carry and something that monitors me without my informed consent.

    Infinite.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    JOSH K, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 1:43pm

    MONITER AWAY

    This will actually be a cool idea. More true and real to see what exactly is being listened to and watched. Now it will not be a bias study unlike in the past where you truly dont know what was really being listened to pending on someone who has to either vocalize the truth or make it up as emberisments would reflect the annswer. This will give a definative answer that cannot be made up.

     

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  7.  
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    RantMax, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 1:51pm

    Sure.

    I doubt they can track my every move. I'm very fast, you know?

    BTW, black points for you Mike, what's with the misleading Big Brother -esque title?

    The technology at hand is pretty harmless, even useful

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Constitution?, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 1:53pm

    Doesn't this seems like spying to you? It's interesting how no one seems to care for the Bill of Rights. Meh, $5 a month seems fair enough to give up something everyone takes for granted anyways!

     

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  9.  
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    discojohnson, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 2:01pm

    again...

    so let me get this straight: if this is set up at a coffee shop and i'm listening to a copy of that a friend lent me, it's monitored and recorded. now because this information is useful to both XXAA's they'll subpoena it on the regular and hunt us down because we _could_ be consuming the media illegally. yeah, you'll see me carrying one of these around---inside a shoebox in the closet. good idea to know what people are actually watching/listening to (like TiVo) to know what works and what doesn't...but i've just told these fools that for $5 a month i'll let you sit behind a bush waiting for me to listen to the new gnarls barkley CD i downloaded to see if i wanted to buy. no thanks.

     

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  10.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 10th, 2006 @ 2:07pm

    Re:

    "Doesn't this seems like spying to you? It's interesting how no one seems to care for the Bill of Rights. Meh, $5 a month seems fair enough to give up something everyone takes for granted anyways!"
    -Constitution?


    Nope... not spying at all. This is something that you would choose to carry. Not something that you would be arrested for not carrying.

    And that's the difference, as someone above pointed out. You can choose to give up any of your rights any time you want. When you stop talking about your opinion, you just temporarily gave up your right to free speech.

    As long as you are carrying this thing around by choice, they're not spying. You're informing.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 2:11pm

    Re:

    i watched everybody loves raymond last week, oh knoes, THEY KNOW!!!!!! my privacy is completely abolished.
    apocolypse is upon us

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Beefcake, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 2:14pm

    Voluntary = Useless

    Unless I'm missing the point, this seems pretty weak. It's the same principle as a Nielsen device, with the same drawbacks. The fact remains that you can't make this mandatory (at least for now, I hope), and if it's voluntary you'll only get data from the type of people who like to have their lives and decisions monitored (like foreigners, reporters working on HP stories, and Republicans).

     

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  13.  
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    Radioguy, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 3:07pm

    Slow down a little here.

    I'm in radio and this isn't a case of big brother watching...it's hopefully an improvement on a very weak method of capturing ratings information. It also won't capture anything but radio listening because it picks up a signal that is encoded inside the radio broadcast to identify which station you're hearing...so don't worry disco, you're gnarls copy is safe (unless big brother's monitoring this list...oh-oh). The device is something you'll sign up for and carry around. That's why they pay you them big bucks.

     

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  14.  
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    Rick, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 3:23pm

    Idiotic Idea

    Now, whats to stop the RIAA and MPAA from talking a judge into forcing Arbitron to release individuals media usage and mining it for copyright violations?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Voluntary = Useless

    I really don't think that Republicans like having their lives monitored. Just ask Mr. Foley.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    AvyTech, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 4:52pm

    Strength in Numbers

    Once upon a time there was a show called Firefly. It got cancelled because of low ratings. Those ratings were biased because only Nielsen families were reported. Millions of geeky and not so geeky people had a show they loved snacked away because they weren't married with 2.5 kids and a dog named spot, so their viewing habits didn't count.

    I like the idea of this device. It's voluntary and has nothing to do with downloading illegal mpegs/mp3s/etc. It's based on TV and radio habits.

    There are plenty of TV shows that got no respect from the big wigs (despite having TONS of faithful fans) because John and Jane Doe's family was watching 7th Heaven and Friends. Both fine shows, but still... I think you get my point.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Annoying Bastard, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 4:56pm

    Balance

    I'm still waiting for the device that all FCC staff are required to carry that will inform the public via e-mail about every measure they have taken to interfere with our First Amendment rights.

    Then again, I'd probably get sick and tired of it overflowing my inbox every fifteen minutes. :-P

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Under-Informed, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 5:39pm

    How do they want to listen?

    What exactly does this do, then? Will someone listen on the other end and try to determine what I'm listening to? Will someone listen on the other end and try to pull out private conversations I'm having with my spouse? Will I have to take off my headphones or ear buds when I listen to an iPod so they know what I'm listening to? If I play a diddy on the piano or guitar, will they think I'm watching The Little Mermaid?

    I'm wondering how they will tell what song I'm listening to, or what movie I'm watching, or whether I'm listening to the original song, or a remix by someone else?

    How do I know their music-identifying software doesn't also record what I say, or the grunts and groans I make in the water closet?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Slow down a little here.

    I have a question. I never listen to the radio. Does arbitron need to monitor people like me to gather correct statistics which include people that never listen to the radio?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2006 @ 4:54am

    Re: Re: Slow down a little here.

    No.

    As farr as I know, all entertainment mavericks are competely in denial of the fact that you have a choice to not consume their crap. They actually think you are compelled to consume "something" and they just try to optimize their crap to make you want more of whichever flavor you subscribe to.

    I watch neitherTV nor do I listen to music radio. (I do lsiten to NPR...)

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    AvyTech, Oct 11th, 2006 @ 5:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Slow down a little here.

    I gave up on TV until recently when they created Heroes. It's my new drug. I have cable bundled with my internet so the TV is on a lot, but that's typically background noise or Sci-fi/Discovery/DIY etc. Hmmm... guess I do watch TV.

    Scratch all that.

    I watch 2 TV shows: Heroes and Battlestar Galactica... everything else is background noise. If they monitor it all, I'd rather volunteer my ratings to those channels.

    (note to self: only post after 7pm, when you make sense)

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Oct 11th, 2006 @ 6:12am

    just a thought

    has any one wondered just what kind of ratings these people are going to get from someone who actually said "I could use that extra $5 a month"?

    I Just imagine on the other side of the box there gonna get a lot of "Jerry Jerry Jerry..."

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2006 @ 10:07am

    Years ago I was contacted by a local radio station to do a listener's journal for which I got I got $5. What Arbitron is doing is basically the same (although how and what data it collects is of concern). What will be interesting to see is how this will play out. I expect there will be people scamming Arbitron and turn it into a big money-maker. I wonder how many particpants will be deceased, illegals or fabricated through identity theft.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    J, Oct 20th, 2006 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Slow down a little here.

    Actually, yes Arbitron does want to measure folks who don't listen to radio. If you are listening to satellite or internet streaming or any form of media, that would be captured too. Or when you are in the grocery store. You may not choose what you are listening to, but you are exposed to it. (Hence the somewhat recent influx of in-store advertisements-you are a captive audience.)

    Keep in mind that the meter measures your exposure, not necessarily your choices.

    And wearing the meter is a choice. If you are asked to participate and you WANT to participate, then you participate. And, for example, they aren't measuring "Mr. Jones" and "Miss Smith", per se, but a man 42 years old, black, who makes $120,000 a year and a woman 28 years old, white, who makes $45,000 a year.

    You are, for all intents and purposes, anonymous.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    buckwheat chunkysoup, Dec 7th, 2012 @ 6:22am

    pay more

    They should pay $25 a day for earning 75 points a day

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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