Disney World: The Real Surveillance State

It’s a small world after all:

The MyMagic+ “vacation management system” can track guests as they move throughout Walt Disney World and analyze their buying habits. If parents allow certain settings on the Magic Bands, employees playing characters will be able to see data with the use of hidden sensors —- so a child might walk up to Mickey Mouse, who says, “Hi, Bobby! Happy birthday!” Some rides will be designed so that there’s interaction between the machines and people with Magic Bands in waiting areas, thus keeping guests entertained as they wait in line.

Here’s to hoping that privacy activists will shift from NSA to corporate tracking in 2014 — an unregulated, unaccountable and warrant-free surveillance state. By the way, I wonder how many corporate trackers will be on Greenwald’s new “First Look Media” website?

  • Christopher Foxx

    Disney has also said that information gleaned from the band would not be used to market to kids under 13.

    The company also conceived of “Magic Band accessories” called Cover Bands and “Magic Bandits” — little plastic characters that can be attached to the Magic Bands for personalization

    Nope, no contradiction there.

  • cleos_mom

    I’d like to see some maps of the brains of people who go to Disney World and then actually tell people that they’ve been to Florida.

  • Walter Bithell

    You can come up with plenty of reasons why government tracking/spying is worse than corporate tracking/spying or you can flip it the other way around. But I think that misses the point entirely. I don’t like any of it from the government or from private industry. I don’t trust the government to operate in secret, with hidden but binding legal opinions that twist the public laws beyond recognition. I don’t trust corporations to do the right thing because the “free market” will punish them if they anger their customers. I don’t like any of it. I welcome any whistleblower (government or corporate) who exposes corruption, illegal spying or general law breaking of any kind. So sure…OK…Disney is a bigger threat than the NSA. Whatever. Sounds good. To hell with both of them.

  • captkurt

    It may not be a one-to-one comparison, but this and other discussions on private corporate versus government invasions of privacy have led me to wonder what Ben Franklin would think. If, “those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”, then what about those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary convenience? Sure, that evil corporation knows way too much about my personal life, but hey, all I have to do is wave a fob or swipe a card and I’m done. The lure of convenience over privacy is a powerful one.

  • missliberties

    Did anyone see Trapper moderate a debate between Ruth Marcus and the obnosious Greenwald yesterday. She didn’t let Glenn bully her, and state clearly that Snowden has done some good, yet there is no doubt that he stole reams of info that has done damage to our national security.

    I thought she did well towing the line with GlennGreenwaldstein. There are shades of gray GG. Yes there are.

  • trgahan

    The two standard pro-Snowblower responses would be:

    A) “The government can “no fly list” me, audit me, detain me, etc. and Disney can’t.

    People seem to forget that ol’ Walt used to rifle through employee desks at night to find who had pro-union sympathy,fire them, and make sure they didn’t find work at a rival’s studio.At the time this was standard, legal, practice for private business owners. Maybe dated but a great example of how U.S. corporate entities use personal data well beyond selling stuff.

    B) “I can choose to not patronize Disney!”

    Companies the size of Disney spend as much money gathering data about non-customers as customers to find out how to direct your dollars/spending habits in their favor. There is a multimillion dollar market for non-customer data for this reason. Simple not buying Disney products (good luck with that) doesn’t make you immune.

  • Nick2000

    This is a joke right? You visit a park where immersion is the goal for the GUESTS. So, yeah, they will benefit from the park (nobody else) knowing who they are. If you do not like it, do not wear the bracelet or do not visit said park.

  • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

    You make a great point Bob!
    Every once in a while I’ll get into a back-&-forth with a Snowden lover/Glenn Greendrone worshipper and I all I seem to hear is overblown NSA hysteria, yet silence about corporate snooping. Credit card companies have mountains of personal info, so where’s the outrage about that? Where are the calls for banning Google and YouTube because they places ads on my screen or select videos that reflect my browsing habits?
    I’m glad this blog has taken on the increasingly tedious hair on fire crowd and the compulsively exaggerating & hyperventilating attention whore Greenwald.
    I just wish a few more blogs would do the same.
    Happy New Year and keep up the sanity!

    • mea_mark

      Sometimes I think it is a purposeful distraction orchestrated by the top1% so they can gather enough information about the 99% to control them. I trust the government more than I do business. I wish more people realized what the corporations are doing and what the possible consequences could be.

      p.s. I am stalking you because we miss your comments at FON.

    • Tbone

      Agreed 100000%. I’ve never understood why gubmint “spying” is the end of the free world, yet corporate spying is not only fine and dandy, we should actually submit to it because the free market knows. best.

  • Badgerite

    Well, I find it a little hard to be scared by Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse. Monsanto, maybe. But Disneyland. This does not dispute your point that people routinely accept and surely must be aware that privacy, in the digital age, will not be the same as in the non digital age. That the technology will be all pervasive and that people accept that because it also bring along with it some very attractive benefits. Another words. There is a lower expectation of privacy in some areas than has existed before now.

    • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

      I don’t know…..that mouse doesn’t look right to me.

      • Badgerite

        M-I-C (see you soon) -K-E-Y. ( why? because we like you ) .
        Mickey Mouse (Donald Trump)
        Mickey Mouse (Donald Trump)
        Forever let us hold our banners High.
        M-I-C K-E-Y MOUSE.

        Sorry, couldn’t resist.

        • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

          Judge: I’m sorry Mister Mouse, but I can’t grant you a divorce just because you claim that your wife Minnie Mouse has a mental disorder.
          Mickey: I didn’t say she had a mental disorder, I said she was f@#king Goofy! :-)

          • 1933john

            Good one, Mr Boink

          • Badgerite

            Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes ya don’t. Etc

    • D_C_Wilson

      The biggest concern is not that a costume character will know your name, it’s what would happen if a company the size of Disney were hacked. Look at the freak out over Target’s costumer database getting hacked and how many credit cards were compromised. All that information just waiting to get into the hands of identity thieves.

      • Badgerite

        Point taken.