One of the aspects of New World Order theories is that mass surveillance and the abuse of this surveillance will play an important role in the future of our society. RFID tagging is one of the concepts that have appeared in different modes of tracking the public, and this same technology is now a part of the Walt Disney World experience. The ultra-popular theme park has decided to outfit visitors with RFID tracking bracelets as part of their NextGen initiative referred to as MyMagic+. The bracelets, dubbed ‘MagicBands’ are meant to help the park implement a plan involving ticketless park entry, ticketless FASTPASS, and touch-to-pay purchases.
Sold under the guise of enhancing the visitor experience at Walt Disney World, the theme park wishes to use the data they collect from the bracelets to make changes to what they offer at the park (as well as how they offer it). They can gauge how well different attractions are doing, test price changes, track food sales, and learn a lot more about the spending habits of their guests. Disney promises that the radio-frequency identification bracelets are not an invasion of privacy, and the fact that the encoded credit card information they store on the bracelets shouldn’t bother visitors.
However, we all know that encrypted personal information has been hacked into, stolen and misused before ”“ even from the best of banks and other entities. Another concern is the ever-looming fear that such information is abused and used for other purposes.
Disney is well aware of the privacy issues that this new system will raise. Anything dealing with children is also another tricky subject, so guests are not forced to use MagicBands. Those who are brave enough to take the plunge can decide on the amount of information that is shared. An online menu of options asks questions, such as ‘Do you want park employees to know your name?’ It will be interesting to see how many people opt out of using the MagicBand system.
With all of the new information that Disney will receive, some fear the system is another ‘Big Brother is watching over us’ type of deal. The company states that their goal is to improve the experience of their guests and that all data is secure through full encryption, but there is always room for technological error.
Disney has thought of a wide range of way to use the technology and other pieces of information they collect to create a more personalized experience. The MagicBands will have other encoded details that allows Disney characters (like Snow White) to customize their greetings and know if someone is celebrating a birthday at the theme park. Passive objects, such as inanimate characters, may say your name as you pass by. Alerts are sent to Smartphones to let people know when it’s their time to enjoy a ride without having to stand in line.
Information about the ‘MagicBands’ started to hit the grapevine ever since program development in February 2011. Although the exact details were kept quiet, Disney also filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for the bracelets. The bands are part of the MyMagic+ “experience” that includes a new website and app, called My Disney Experience. The bracelets are expected to act as a room key for onsite resort guests, parking tickets, FastPasses, and credit card.
Interested in hearing the scientific details regarding the bracelet? An early description of the tracking bracelet read:
“The radio of the device, Model MB-R1G1, is a wrist worn arm band that transmits a 2.4 GHz signal to an indoor wireless infrastructure. The PCB assembly is potted in plastic and completely overmolded with thermal plastic polyurethane. The band has no on off switch and is powered with a non-replaceable coin cell. The PCB assembly also includes a passive UHF RFID tag radio and a passive HF RFID tag radio.”
The 60,000 employees at Disney World will have to undergo adequate training so they can properly use the new technology, so the first couple of months of use could prove a bit rocky. Changes in the system will be in effect in the spring.