Monday, July 18, 2005

You *must* be kidding!

!!!Visitors to Disney World in Florida must now submit to a fingerprint scan before entering the park.
Disney officials said the scans help keep track of who is using legitimate tickets, Local 6 News reported.
?????? You must be kidding me! What could possibly justify this kind of privacy invasion for every single visitor to an amusement park? And whose databases are they going to check this against? To say that I would never visit Disney again is far too weak an expression of how appalled I am.

(via Follow Me Here)

Update: Educated Guess speculates that this is more about preventing people from sharing multiday passes than about checking identities. I guess biometrics is cheaper than staff to check ID. And yet I find myself in no way reassured.

Update 2: More complete story here. Their defense is that they don't store the whole print but just some characteristic point numbers. great.


Anonymous said...

It's not a fingerprint - it's 2-finger geometry, a different biometric than what typical law enforcement databases use, so I think the worry about comparison to other databases that use typical fingerprints is not well-founded. I posted a bit more in FMH's comments on this.


ACM said...

Do you think that most people understand this difference? If not, then it certainly lowers their threshold for accepting the next application of finger-scanning, and/or their feeling that biometric verification in innocuous contexts is no problem...

Can you provide any sources explaining 2-finger geometry? I've never heard of it, so I sort of presumed that the scanner picked out "features" of the fingerprint like a police matching-algorithm might...

Anonymous said...

I think that most people don't understand this difference at all - and our incompetent media doesn't help. But the Disney technology measures a completely different thing than what typical fingerprint scanners measure.

Your second sentence suggests that there is no context in which biometric technology of any sort is appropriate. I don't think I believe that...

Google result from "two finger geometry disney" is:
Also see:

This technique doesn't look at fingerprints at all, it is about the shape/size of the two fingers, as I understand it. "Hand geometry" is another variation.

More generally, of course, increasingly ubiquitous biometric use may or may not pose serious privacy problems (and is probably very context-dependent), but "biometric technology" covers a lot of ground and I think it's important to understand what the systems in question do and don't do in order to best understand their implications.


Anonymous said...

I wrote Disney to let them know they'd lost my business (left to my own devices I might never have visited a Disney park, but my wife was quite looking forward to it). They wrote back to say:

With the new "Ticket Tag", now your ticket is just that, yours! You sign your name on it, and to ensure no one else can use your ticket in the event it is lost or stolen, we've introduced the "Ticket Tag" system. It's technology that uses unique measurements from your fingers to link your ticket to you. This is not a fingerprinting system.

Gee thanks Disney! How about you let me worry about holding on to my ticket, and keep your intrusive damn finger scanning to yourself?

Medley's point about biometrics of different kinds having valid applications is a good one, but I cannot see how entry into an amusement park requires such measures.


ACM said...

for what it's worth (and in defense of Disney), they do allow you to opt out of the finger scan, according to an email that Eliot recieved: