Congress demands answers on privacy from Disney: the letter

Today, Edward Markey (D-Mass.) wrote The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger demanding answers about the new MyMagic+ “magic bands” RFID-based wristbands that are being implemented at the Orlando theme parks.

“As a Co-Chairman of the Congressional Bi-partisan Privacy Caucus, I am deeply concerned that Disney’s proposal could potentially have a harmful impact on our children.”

This is a very interesting wrinkle. I’ve been talking about personal data collection, personalized content, and Disney for years, but who knew the three would collide in such a big way?

The complete letter follows. (h/t Epcyclopedia)

MarkeyLetter1 MarkeyLetter2 MarkeyLetter3


Update, 29 January: Disney CEO Bob Iger fired back a hot response that slapped Rep. Markey for having the temerity of making his concerns public. This bit is representative: “We are offended by the ludicrous and utterly ill-informed assertion in your latter dated January 24, 2013, that we would in any way haphazardly or recklessly introduce a program that manipulates children, or wantonly puts their safety at risk.” Iger goes to on slam Mackey, implying he was playing politics: “It is truly unfortunate and extremely disappointing that you chose to publicly attack us before taking the time to review our policies and/or contact us for information, which would have obviated the need for your letter.”

Of course, Rep. Markey’s letter was a request for information; Iger is more incensed at the public relations taint that has now attached itself to the wristbands thanks to all this. Disney’s power and influence are such that it’s more accustomed to dealing with such governmental queries behind closed doors first, not in the sunshine as Markey did it.

Iger’s entire letter, including refutation that Disney puts children’s information at risk, can be read in full here.