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We are back from our second vacation down in Walt Disney World. One of the biggest changes since our February visit (besides the unbearable heat at the end of summer in Florida) was that almost every park is now matching your fingerprint with your park pass. Disney told us it was to protect you in case you lose your park pass. However, my mind started spinning about all of the data Disney collects on us....


And I guess I'm not the only one -- because Donna Bogatin over at ZDNet had a similar observation in a post called Walt Disney World "Fingerprinting" Visitors: Magic Kingdom, or Mickey Mouse?
You can read Donna's article for a quick look at the technology and the company behind it; however, I'm taking a different approach.
Let's look at the data Disney collected from me that can now be theoretically matched with my fingerprint - name, address, email, age, children's name and age, credit card, phone numbers, emails, which parks I visit, potentially which rides (via FastPass), food, purchases and more.
Wow -- that is a ton of data, but what could Disney do with it? According to the Park Privacy Policy almost anything they want.
Q3. How may we use and share your personal information that we collect?
A3. We may use and share your personal information collected under this Privacy Policy in a variety of ways, including, without limitation, for example:
We may disclose personal information when we believe in good faith that such disclosures (a) are required by law, including, without limitation, for example, to comply with a court order or subpoena, or (b) will help to: enforce contest, sweepstakes, promotions and/or game rules; protect your safety or security, including, without limitation, the safety and security of property that belongs to you; and/or protect the safety
Now I don't think Disney is up to anything sinister. But what jumps out at me with their data/privacy policy combination is that they theoretically could build a national fingerprinting registry and hand it over to the US Government.

Over at Wikipedia
they reference that in 2005 the Magic Kingdom had over 16.2 million visitors. Not all of those people are US citizens or are being fingerprinted (kids), but based on a 250 million US population, I wonder how long it would take Disney to build a sizable database of US fingerprints? Clearly this system is not Mickey Mouse.
PardonMyFrench,
Eric

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Frenchman is an online marketing and advertising consultant located in the Great State of New Jersey and Chief Internet Strategist for the online political agency Connell Donatelli Inc. Since 1998, Eric has managed multi-million dollar online advertising and CRM campaigns for AT&T, DLJdirect, Harrisdirect, and BMO Investorline and is a recognized expert in online marketing and advertising techniques. In 2005, Harrisdirect was ranked as the 17th largest online advertiser in the US and in 2003 was recognized as Best Financial Advertiser. Eric Frenchman's marketing blog is located here: http://www.ericfrenchman.com