Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) raised questions today about the privacy implications for children visiting Disney theme parks resulting from the company's plan to offer a new bracelet at its parks that will serve as a payment source, room key, and gateway to other services during visits to some Disney parks. In a letter sent to the Disney corporation Chairman and CEO Robert Iger, Rep. Markey asks the company how it will track, collect information about, and target its guests with advertisements, especially the children and teenagers who frequent the parks. Disney's plan to roll out a new "MagicBand" system was reported in a New York Times article earlier this month.
"Collecting information about how guests use Disney amusement parks could improve the company's ability to target advertisements at its guests, including children," writes Rep. Markey, who is a Co-Chairman of the Congressional Bi-partisan Privacy Caucus. "Although kids should have the chance to meet Mickey Mouse, this memorable meeting should not be manipulated through surreptitious use of a child's personal information."
In the letter addressed to Disney's chairman and CEO, Rep. Markey asks whether guests will be required to use the "MagicBand" system; how data will be collected, stored, and shared; and whether children will be targeted with ads or other marketing pitches. The full letter is available HERE.
In May of 2011, Rep. Markey introduced the Do Not Track Kids Act, legislation that amends the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 to extend, enhance and update the provisions relating to the collection, use and disclosure of children's personal information and establishes new protections for personal information of children and teens. More information on that legislation is available HERE, and Rep. Markey will re-introduce this legislation in the coming months.