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Author Topic: Disney fingerprint scan raises privacy concerns
Richard W
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quote:
Originally posted by B Hamilton:
The system does not store a picture or data of the fingerprint. It stores a number. The finger print is scanned and some junctions are pinpointed that the program uses to generate a number.

This doesn't make a lot of difference in practice, assuming that the algorithm used to generate the number is common to other scanners of the same type. It's effectively a hash key that points to one or more actual fingerprints - depending on how the number is generated (how many "hash buckets" there are), it's likely that there aren't a lot of fingerprints that match each number - they would want the number to be as close to unique as is feasible, because otherwise it wouldn't be effective.

I don't know anything personally about DisneyLand or DisneyWorld admissions, but Mickey (who works there) says that room keys are usable as tickets under some circumstances, and names are linked to room keys. There may be other ways to link a ticket number to a person (the person who paid for it, perhaps?) - we don't know, but it would surprise me if there wasn't a link between ticket number and credit-card purchaser.

One example of "usefulness" to the government is in the following scenario. Government finds fingerprint at crime scene that doesn't match their records. Government thinks "Hey, Disney has a big database of numbers generated from fingerprints!" Government gets numbers from Disney. Government uses the same algorithm to generate a number from their fingerprint and matches this to Disney's database. There's a match, which happens to identify a room key - from there it's easy to find out who was in the room.

Posts: 8725 | From: Ipswich - the UK's 9th Best Place to Sleep! | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
B Hamilton
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
This doesn't make a lot of difference in practice, assuming that the algorithm used to generate the number is common to other scanners of the same type. It's effectively a hash key that points to one or more actual fingerprints - depending on how the number is generated (how many "hash buckets" there are), it's likely that there aren't a lot of fingerprints that match each number - they would want the number to be as close to unique as is feasible, because otherwise it wouldn't be effective.

Actually it isn't completely unique. I don't have the exact numbers but I believe it is closer to one in a thousand although neither Disney nor Universal will say exactly. I do know that many times tickets have been mixed up in a family and the scan still worked so it can't be totally unique.

quote:
There may be other ways to link a ticket number to a person (the person who paid for it, perhaps?) - we don't know, but it would surprise me if there wasn't a link between ticket number and credit-card purchaser.


The information is stored in totally different data banks. For instance, guest services can scan a ticket and find out the purchaser if they ordered online or paid with a credit card at the gate. They can't pull up the purchaser information if the ticket was purchased at say Walmart as Walmart buys bulk tickets and resells them. Any places outside of the themeparks that sale tickets buy several hundred of tickets a day and all the themepark can see is that it was purchased at Walmart. Guest Services cannot see the fingerscan information or even verify if a ticket matches the fingerscan.

The scanners at the turnstiles, do not have information on the purchaser only the useage of the ticket and the fingerscan. It can tell how many days were used and if the fingerscan matches. The two different systems are not linked.

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"This is my family. I found it all on my own. It's little & broken but still good."

Posts: 1338 | From: Orlando | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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