Privacy and MagicBands: Disney and the Meat Space Data Race

While visiting Disney World with his family, John Foreman offers his thoughts on Disney’s new MacigBands technology. In addition to helping reduce lines throughout the theme park, each bracelet contains an RFID tag that is specific to the individual wearer.

Each band has a different color, and has the individuals name printed on the underside. This is done at what I assume to be tremendous cost.

Why? Because they don’t want their database to get confused and think that you, a 45-year-old man, rode the teacups instead of your little son Timmy.This is one of the first examples I’ve seen of physical design (e.g., monogramming and coloring) for the sake of digital data purity.

Why go through all the bother? The answer in a nutshell: data. Lots and lots of data. Where you go, which rides you frequent, what restaurants you visit, and so on. Given all the information the band is broadcasting, it’s staggering to imagine what kind of patterns Disney can discern (at both the group and individual level).

A really fascinating read, and an interesting way that data collection is moving into the real/physical world. With Google’s recent acquisition of Nest, technology is shifting more and more into our literal, everyday lives. A nice companion piece to Foreman’s Disney World article is one by Matt Haughey entitled Every Data Point is Sacred.

[via MetaFilter, CC photo via Julie Friend]

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