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Disney’s New “Magic Bands” Concern Privacy Advocates

By Kate Merrill, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Kate Merrill Kate Merrill
Kate Merrill is an Emmy award winning journalist for WBZ-TV News and...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Disney wants to add even more magic to the Magic Kingdom. The wildly popular Orlando amusement park is introducing the Magic Band. It’s a high-tech bracelet that can be used as a ticket, credit card, hotel key, ID and more.

By using the new system, families will be able to get up to three fast passes for their favorite rides before arriving at the park. It can be linked to your photo pass while photographers snap candids of you and your family during a visit. And Mickey Mouse could instantly know the name of your little Mouseketeer before they even pose for that photo.

To do all this, the Magic Band can also track your every move. That’s a concern for privacy advocates. “It’s important that children and their information be protected,” says Congressman Ed Markey. He wrote a letter to Disney asking how all this information will be used. Congressman Markey says when any company is gathering information about children it should be “given a special level of protection that information gathered about adults is not given.”

Disney calls the concerns ludicrous, saying quote: “MyMagic+ is a completely optional program…. Disney does not use personal information to market to children under age 13… and never shares children’s personal information with any third party….”

Many Disney fans we spoke to seem to be opting for convenience over privacy: “You schlep a ton of stuff. So, to be able to go lean and mean is pretty good. I like that idea,” says Maureen Laurin of Concord. Tim Keliher of Hingham agrees, saying “having five little bracelets instead of piles and piles of tickets, I think it’s fine.”

The Magic Bands could be available as early as this spring.

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