Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus Questions Disney on MyMagic+
Last week Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger received a letter from the Co-Chairman of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, Edward Markey, (D- Mass). The letter called the company on the carpet and demanded answers to seven multi-part questions about the collection of personal date from guests, with a focus on youth. Congressman Markey quotes the very same New York Times article from January 7th, 2013 that we used in our article MyMagic+ Set to Roll Out at Walt Disney World as the catalyst for his concern.
In the letter Congressman Markey states that Disney intends to use "MagicBand bracelets encoded with credit card information" however in the Times article Tom Skaggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, is clearly quoted as saying that "The bands themselves will contain no personal identifiable information." This statement points to the MagicBand, and similarly the RFID encoded cards, likely functioning as a key between technologies, to facilitate the interface between guest data and the interactive technologies using it.
Though the Congressman acknowledges in his letter that the use of MagicBand will be optional in one part of the letter, he questions that later on. He also expresses concern that MyMagic+ "could potentially have a harmful impact on our children." The concern seems to be mainly in the targeted marketing of products to children and the sharing of youth information even with other branches of the company, such as the Disney Channel. However in the Times article that sparked his concern, it clearly states that "Guests will not be forced to use the MagicBand system, and people who do try it will decide how much information to share."
Disney has released a first response statement through a spokesman regarding the letter that offers the following:
MyMagic+ is a completely optional program. Disney's privacy policies and practices are fully transparent and guests can choose whether or not to participate in MyMagic+. In addition, guests control whether their personal information is used for promotional purposes and no data collected is ever used to market to children. MyMagic+ is designed to make a visit to Walt Disney World more personalized, seamless and customized than ever before.
While the statement may be true, it offers no explanation to the points brought into question by the Congressman. The letter asks Mr. Iger to respond in writing to the questions by February 14th, 2013 and can be found in it's full form here for your review. What the Congressman calls into question is no different than concerns we've seen from fans on countless across the internet.
What do you think about the letter sent by Congress asking Disney to explain MyMagic+? Are you looking forward to Disney's response, or do you feel that our government has other things to focus on? We'll be keeping our eyes open for further details and specific answers to the Congressman's concerns.