Finger scanning at disney parks causes concern

Posted Monday, July 18, 2005 9:41 AM | Contributed by Kahnverse

The addition of finger scanning technology at the entrances of Walt Disney World theme parks for all visitors has caused concern among privacy advocates. Tourists visiting Disney theme parks in Central Florida must now provide their index and middle fingers to be scanned before entering the front gates.

Read more from WKMG/Orlando.

Monday, July 18, 2005 9:54 AM
To bad that ACLU spokesman doesn't understand the technology, either of the tickets themselves or the biometrics in question. For the last decade plus---since the introduction of the magstripe tickets---Disney has already known exactly what you did with your tickets. Almost all WDW tickets are purchased with a credit card from Disney directly (either at a ticket window, or by mail.) That identifies the holder of the ticket. Very few people shared the old parkhoppers, so WDW already knew who you were, what parks you visited, and when.

Added to that, finger geometry is not individually identifiable in the way a fingerprint or iris is. There is a nontrivial chance that two different people have "similar enough" finger geometry to be indistinguishable using these readers.

I'm a card-carrying member of the ACLU, and a big privacy nut, but even I don't get worked up about this one.

Monday, July 18, 2005 10:18 AM
Jeff's avatar While I agree with you mostly, it does beg the question of why they'd use these at all for non-passholders if they know who you are anyway. I don't understand what this is supposed to do or prevent. There's just some feeling of violation here I can't exactly put my finger on. I mean, push me through a magnetometer and X-ray my shoes, but I don't like to be touched. This is kind of touching. :)
Monday, July 18, 2005 10:20 AM
The story never really said what the prints are used for.

Security? To track guests? What?

The more I read about Disney... the more I find it just a bit ... creepy.

What I find amusing is how so many complain about metal detectors. "I don't like being treated like a criminal," is a statement often heard. Are those same folks going to be upset about this? Personally, I don't have a problem with metal detectors... but this does bother me a bit. While they say it is not a true finger print... it still sure as heck feels like one.

"Hello, welcome to the Magic Kingdom... please present your index finger and Thumb for processing, and then stand in front of that screen holding this number in front of you... front shot and side shot. You may now procede to the next station where you have the right to remain silent, anything that you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney..."*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 7/18/2005 10:29:50 AM ***

Monday, July 18, 2005 11:41 AM
Jeff: the biometrics go hand-in-hand with the new ticket pricing structure. Now, per day costs go down significantly once you are spending five or more days in the parks per trip. The biometrics are in place to eliminate the resale market for partially-used passes, ensuring that the new pricing structure is doing what it was intended to do: extend the average length of stay.

*** This post was edited by Brian Noble 7/18/2005 11:42:28 AM ***

Monday, July 18, 2005 11:50 AM
Jeff's avatar So it's enforcing the "non-transferable" clause of the tickets? I guess I understand that, but if the resale and partial-use thing is a problem, then it should be a clear signal that Disney is not offering what the customer really want.
Monday, July 18, 2005 12:07 PM
^ They don't need to offer what the customer really wants... they just need to get close enough that most people don't complain.

The whole finger scanning does seem somewhat excessive.

Monday, July 18, 2005 2:14 PM
Well, what the public really wants is cheaper admission, and short of buying a longer pass and splitting it between two people, there was no way of getting it for short stays. With the new ticket scheme, there's no way to do it at all.

However, I don't think you can really claim they aren't providing a price point that people are willing to pay: WDW has rarely, if ever, discounted short-stay admission, yet their parks occupy four of the top five domestic parks by attendance. (The fifth being Disneyland, which *does* offer short-visit discounts to the locals.)

Monday, July 18, 2005 9:44 PM
PKI started scanning figerprints (not biometrics) last year for their Take Two tickets and nobody said a word.

Nobody said a word about PKI doing it, but everyone's up in arms about Disney. Although, I have to agree... why is it necessary for anyone other than AP holders?

Monday, July 18, 2005 10:15 PM
I dont blame disney for trying to stop the illegal reselling of there ticket.. And the biometric scan isnt comparable to a fingerprint that is used for law enforcement purposes. If one doesnt like 1the fingerprint scan, one isnt forced to viist the theme parks.
Monday, July 18, 2005 10:38 PM

why is it necessary for anyone other than AP holders?

The cost of a single day ticket is now around $63. A single-day parkhopper is almost $100. However, a 10-day parkhopper with 14-day expiration is less than $250, or $25 a day. It's easy to see where the incentive is to buy a longer ticket than you need, and sell the remaining days to some "broker" on US-192, who then turns it around for a profit.

Disney sells the longer tickets at a discount (presumably) to encourage families to book longer on-property stays. They don't get what they want if three families split a set of 10-day tickets.

There is a brisk business on ebay selling Disneyland multi-day parkhoppers for the same reason, as DLR does not (yet) have finger scans. You'll find tickets advertised with # days left/expiration date. Delivery is usually made to the buyer's hotel.

Monday, July 18, 2005 11:50 PM
Marineland over in canada did it... i bought a season pass (it was $2.00 more than admission w/ the coupon i had, even though I never came back =P) last year and they scanned my finger.

dun dun dunnnnn.

-- alan "tracked in canada" jacyszyn

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 12:56 AM
It looks to me that Disney is in on the big picture. This is just the next step in forcing the public, little by little, to accept being tracked. Next thing you know we'll all have those RFID microchips the the pentogon is supporting the widespread use of imbedded under our skin, being watched by a satilite.

...Little by little, until it's so big it can't be stopped.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 8:26 AM
Nah, it's all about Disney shoving their park(s) down your throat--as has always been the case.

Hey, Mickey! Scan THIS digit!


Tuesday, July 19, 2005 9:09 AM
Once again the media brings up an old story..... i was in WDW back in fall 03 and they scanned our fingers even then.... brilliant conspiracy theories going on methinks as the security guards are 'trained' to explain they do not know why you have to scan your finger, you just do.

IMO it is mainly to prevent re-sale - my partner and i accidentally switched tickets at the gate for EPCOT and it wouldn't let us pass... then we realised and it was hunky dory.


"I can't let you do that, Dave"

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 10:12 AM
C'Playa: amusingly, that digit is one of the two that is scanned.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005 2:09 PM
Is it mandatory to have the biometric scan or can you get around it by showing picture ID? They started doing the biometric scans at BGW for season pass holders but they let you skip it if you show an ID. Which was lucky for me since one of the people I split the discounted 4 pack of passes was adamant about not getting scanned. The BGW guest service person claimed that the scanners were used to speed up getting people through the gates; however, it seems to take no longer to get through by showing ID.
*** This post was edited by Bluecrabboy 7/19/2005 2:12:04 PM ***
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 10:33 AM
I find it ironic that the same people who are complaining are likely folks that have no problem having a cell phone attached to their ear and if you don't think people, or the government, can listen to your "private" conversations you ARE in Disneyland.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 10:11 PM
Jeff's avatar While I wouldn't go as far as to complain, it's still not the same thing. I fully accept that anything I do electronically may be monitored by someone. Whatever... I don't really have anything to hide. However... this is something a little more personal and "in my space" so to speak. It's not quite like a stranger grabbing your genitals, but it's in that direction. For me at least. :)
Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:20 AM
I think the reason that Disney is measuring (more accurate than scanning in this case) ALL guests is that this replaces the handstamp for the majority of people. You can leave, and come back, and they know it is the same person. They still have someone there to give handstamps, and I can only imagine this is for OLD passes, becasue we never had to get one, and park hopped many times.

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