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Privacy Your Rights Online

Disney Wants To Track You With RFID 278

Posted by timothy
from the disney-himself-just-relaxes-in-the-nitrogen dept.
Antipater writes "Disney parks and resorts have long had a system that combined your room key, credit card, and park ticket into a single card. Now, they're taking it a step further by turning the card into an RFID wristband (called a 'MagicBand'), tracking you, and personalizing your park experience, targeted-ad style. 'Imagine booking guaranteed ride times for your favorite shows and attractions even before setting foot in the park,' wrote Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, in a blog posting on Monday. 'With MyMagic+, guests will be able to do that and more, enabling them to spend more time together and creating an experience that's better for everyone.' Disney does go on to talk about all the things you can opt out of if you have privacy concerns, and the whole system seems to be voluntary or even premium." With a theme park, at least, you can also choose to avoid the place entirely; that makes it, however creepy, a bit different from compulsory education settings, or mandatory car tracking.
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Disney Wants To Track You With RFID

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  • by flaming error (1041742) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:01PM (#42521211) Journal

    "I don't get the reflexive "defend my privacy" stance on slashdot"

    I love that about slashdot. It's a great reflex. But after the reflex should come a little thought / analysis.

    I have lots of reflexes, and one is to distrust Disney. But like you, in this case I'm really not seeing the problem.

  • Yay, Cory! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sootman (158191) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:12PM (#42521419) Homepage Journal

    I just finished re-reading Makers. [craphound.com]

    She bought it all: all the fast-passes and priority cards, all of it loaded into a grinning Mickey on a lanyard, a wireless pendant that would take care of her everywhere she went in the park, letting her spend money like water.

    Thus girded, she consulted with her bellhop some more and laid out an itinerary. Once she'd showered she found she didn't want to wear any of her European tailored shorts and blouses. She wanted to disappear into the Great American Mass. The hotel gift shop provided her with a barkcloth Hawai'ian shirt decorated with tessellated Disney trademarks and a big pair of loose shorts, and once she donned them, she saw that she could be anyone now, any tourist in the park. A pair of cheap sunglasses completed the look and she paid for it all by waving her Mickey necklace at the register, spending money like water.

    OK, so it's a bracelet, not a necklace -- otherwise, pretty much spot-on.

    Great book, and you can read the whole thing (and all of his books) online for free [craphound.com] in a variety of formats.

  • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:19PM (#42521529)

    My decades long experience with CCTV is its mostly anti-employee rather than anti-public. When the rentacops aren't creeping at the hotties, they'll gather evidence against people on someone's list. "Oh look, kid-who-boss-wants-to-fire went to the can for more than the defined 3 minutes".

    Adding RFID means those poor bastards in costumes will now have numeric metrics of how many kids they hugged and will be paid WRT competing with each other and so forth. As a social trend/goal I don't think its anything to be proud of or look forward to.

    "human flesh worker drone 2426625-131253, the computer reports that your walking speed is 2.8 MPH and we have a meaningless metric that says we must terminate all human flesh worker drones who walk slower than 2.9 MPH so good bye security will escort you off the property" Yeah I bet that's a fabulous place to visit. Then again Alcatraz and the German concentration camps have a lot of visitors and they were not exactly the peak of human happiness, so maybe not so bad.

  • by Trashcan Romeo (2675341) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:22PM (#42521579)
    The government no longer needs warrants to place trackers on your car and record all your communications. [Because, you know, Terrorism.] When it introduces national identity cards with trackers and a law requiring you to carry it at all times, resistance will have been weakened by people's acquiescence in these Disney style schemes.

    "The safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts." - C.S. Lewis

  • by JWW (79176) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:22PM (#42521585)

    There's also a key in the name of the system -- MyMagic+. This soooo sounds like something Disney will be charging a premium to get.

    And heres the value proposition they are selling: How much is it worth to you to schedule your visit to their theme park such that you completely minimize the amount of time you spend in lines throughout the day?

    They already know in the basic sense where you are since you bought a ticket to their park, how important is the privacy of what ride you are on at what time?

    While I loathe Disney's policy with respect to copyright, these people know how to run a good theme park. I love the Disney theme parks.

  • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:52PM (#42522105) Homepage

    Really that's their goal - to get you into the park, spending money, and feeling good about it so you'll do it again. (and again, and again, ...)

    And they're f'ing amazing at it.

    We were just there, and outside Epcot my little nephew said something about only needing two more stuffed characters to complete the list of ones he wanted. I said something like, "not tonight buddy". It was late and after hours (we were headed out at the time).

    A young man working customer service, behind glass, heard him say so and asked us to hold up. Remember we're actually outside the park at this point. He asked my nephew what his favorite characters were, grabbed a comp book from behind the counter, and left the customer service area. He walked over to the store next door where he got both of the toys my nephew wanted.

    He talked to him a little, signed his character book for him, took a picture... and that was it. The little guy gave him the lucky penny he'd been carrying for days... felt like he had to give something back.

    Stuff like that costs Disney about $0.20. They empower their employees to do things like that if they're so compelled. They don't have to have a reason or answer for it later. Meanwhile, the story was worth way more than the little gifts alone and it'll be worth thousands to Disney when we (certainly) come back.

    Small story. Seem like nothing... and you only know about it because I told it. But it demonstrates the depth of mastery they have at creating an experience people love.

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