Biometric Scanning at Disney?

Earlier this year, in conjunction with their new ticket pricing scheme, Walt Disney World added a biometric finger scanning requirement to your admission. Mike at Tech:Knowledge discovered the change on his trip and was not all that pleased.

Annual Passholders at the park have been using the finger scanners for
years. Yeah, it’s a little gross sticking your fingers in a slot where
two minutes ago someone with a disease might have done the same thing.
But for the value provided by the APs I didn’t mind. Nor did I think
about the privacy concerns.

Although Disney does not currently use a customer tracking system, out
of contract obligations to a sponsor (is my understanding), they
certainly have the technology to do so. Every piece of admission media
has a magnetic strip and/or barcode uniquely identifying the ticket and
its holder. When that ticket is scanned into the park the date and time
is written in the magnetic strip and entered into a database. Guest
relations can scan that ticket and track its history. The fact that
tickets are often used to obtain discounts, charge purchases to your
resort room, obtain fast passes, means that there are thousands of
points throughout the day where the holder of a particular piece of
admission media can be tracked and a dossier compiled.

Now, combine this with the biometric finger scanning and a casino
security quality photo id system (which comes as an option to the
scanning setup) and you can attach that dossier to a specific
individual and track their movements throughout the resort.

To the best of my knowledge Disney currently does nothing of the sort.
They’re just concerned with people reselling partially used admission
media which is against Florida state law. Requiring biometric finger
scans is just a step to quash that.

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4 thoughts on “Biometric Scanning at Disney?

  1. Mark Star

    I was at disney last week. They are now scanning fingers of ALL patrons that enter the park. Including single day single park passes. They are also searching bags upon entrance. I had my backpack searched twice, both times I was unzipping compartments when the security guy grabbed the pack from me to look through it. Both times they only looked through the compartments that had been opened for them. Both times the largest compartment was closed and contained items. Both times the security guys ignored the closed pouch and gave the bag right back. I tried it a couple other times just to see and sure enough the security guys apparently don’t know how to operate a zipper. Kudos to Disney on there top notch job of security. Im surprised the ‘terrorists’ haven’t hit disney yet… oh yeah them would be biting the hand that feeds you. 33

  2. Carol

    Isn’t anyone concerned about yielding your civil to enter a Disney park for ticket “security” reasons? You have a basic right to keep your personal medical info private. It seems to me that if the border patrol scanned Americans’ bones upon re-entry for “security” reasons, there would be such an outrage! Yet, to enter a park…..?????

  3. John from TheDisneyBlog.com

    Hi Carol,

    If you read up on the Biometric Scanning posts I have on the blog, you’ll see that not only is Disney not collecting personal medical info, they’re not requiring it to get in the parks. If you don’t want to have your finger scanned you can always show valid ID to get in.

    The actual scanning is pretty un-invasive too. They measure the depth of your fingerprint ridges, a few key points, put them into a formula (say depth x (point 1 – point2) = N) and then store the result of that formula. N might be 42, so next time you scan your finger your N has to be with in some range (say 5 points + or – ) of 42. There is no way to reverse the formula and get any identifiable information about your fingerprint out of their system.

    Hope that answers your worries.

    John Frost

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