Many of us Disney fans were very excited to hear earlier this month about the new Disney Parks MyMagic+ bracelets, an effort by Disney to help streamline and customize park experiences. The MagicBands would take the place of room keys, park tickets, and credit cards. In addition, they would track what we do in the parks supposedly to help give us a better park experience. Members of Sunshine Rewards were already wondering when exactly they would be able to try it.
Our hopes may soon be dimmed, however, by Congress. I didn’t believe it until I saw it myself. But Edward J. Markey, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, sent a letter to Robert Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Office of the Walt Disney Company, this week questioning the new technology.
The main issues seem to revolve around the type of information that will be collected, whether guests will be able to opt out of sharing that information, if there would be a disadvantage to not sharing that information, how the information will be analyzed, if the information will be used to target guests, if the information will be shared across Disney, and how long the information will be stored.
The issue of tracking kids is likely at the room of Rep. Markey’s concerns. In 2011 he introduced (and will soon introduce again) the Do Not Track Kids Act, which would extend the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA).
Disney has been testing the MyMagic+ with select guests for several months. In addition to combining the room key, park tickets, FastPass+, PhotoPass+, and Touch to Pay functionality, the bands are a part of a bigger push to simplify the Disney process for guests. It includes allowing guests to schedule FastPass+ opportunities in advance and expands them to include attractions, Character Meet & Greets, fireworks shows, and parades.
Either Congress is as interested in Mickey Mouse as I am or is truly concerned that Disney is up to no good with their new initiative.
What do you think? Has Disney gone too far this time under the guise of “creating a better user experience”? Or is Congress getting involved in something that isn’t worth its time?