Walt Disney World has begun scanning the fingers of children who are entering its theme parks and water parks. Although many families had noticed the new practice and began posting about it recently on social media channels, the process was confirmed this week by the Orlando Sentinel and other news outlets.
Kids and all guests with tickets or annual passes — which is anyone age 3 or older — now must have a finger scan associated with his or her admission media. The scan is not one of a person’s fingerprint but rather photos of different points on an individual finger that is then converted into a digital code.
The technology is used to prevent fraud. Before the new practice was put in place, tickets or annual passes for young children could be transferred to others because there was no identifying information attached to the ticket or pass. In other words, children’s tickets could be handed off to friends, or even resold, to other kids in the same age range.
With the new policy, parents have the option to associate their own finger scans — instead of their children’s — with their kids’ tickets. One complication with this, though, can occur when the parent whose finger scan is associated with the child’s ticket is not the one escorting the child into the park.
Walt Disney World officials say the “finger geometry” scans are not being saved in a company database. They are only associated with the individual tickets and annual passes as a security measure, and the visitor data is discarded within 30 days.
As a parent, I am not bothered by the expanded finger scan practice, though I know that some parents have expressed reservations about the technology. And neither is my more cynical husband, who often looks at the profit-making and marketing angles behind any such new technological advance. This technology does not uniquely identify a person; it simply reduces the chances you are using a ticket or pass that is not yours.
Walt Disney World has been collecting finger scans for more than a decade. (You can read about the history and see photos of the old machines on our AllEars.Net resource page.) And in that time, the process has become more commonplace not just among theme parks but with advanced technology, such as Apple Pay and other digital wallets.
Parents who have spoken out about the finger scans —- for anyone of any age — are, of course, concerned about their civil liberties. But does that argument really work today in the times in which we live and with the security surveillance all of have become accustomed to? Tell us what you think in the comments.