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Disney's Finger Scan Upgrade Raises Privacy Concerns

Local 6 | September 1, 2006

An upgrade on Disney's finger scanning technology implemented to prevent ticket fraud or resale is raising concerns from privacy advocates, according to Local 6 News.

For years, Walt Disney World has been reading the shape of visitors' fingers on its property. Now, the upgraded controversial finger scanning machines scan fingerprint information.

"Privacy advocates worry that Disney is getting too much of your personal information and their concern is where that information goes after it is scanned," Local 6 reporter Jessica D'Onofrio said.

Disney representatives said the technology does not store the entire fingerprint image and scanned information is purged in 30 days.

"We are not collecting fingerprints," Disney representative Kim Prunty said. "We are not collecting personal information. The sole purpose is to create a numerical value that links out guest with their Magic Your Way tickets.

"They're collecting fingerprints," Central Florida ACLU President George Crossley said. "They're taking fingerprints. They can call it whatever they want. They're taking fingerprints. Everything that chips away at personal rights, anything that chips away at the right to privacy, I'll always be concerned about."

"The system takes an image, it identifies points on that image and measures the distance between those points and immediately creates a numerical value on the blink of an eye," Prunty said. "And it's the numerical value that's stored in our system and recalled when a guest reenters our turn styles using their Magic Your Way tickets."

The Central Florida ACLU said they know Disney is not doing anything illegal but said people should know what they're submitting to before they enter the park.

"If Uncle Sam decides to hit Walt Disney with a subpoena because they want those records, what is Walt Disney going to do?" Crossley said. "They're going to provide the records right?"

A Disney representative said visitors who object to the finger scanners can use a photo ID instead. However, that option is not advertised at the theme parks.

The machine upgrades should be completed by the end of September, the report said.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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