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#1
Old 12-21-2011, 08:57 PM
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Why did Universal Theme Park want my fingerprints?

I went to Universal Islands of Adventure and when they took my ticket they had me scan my fingerprint. I was too startled by the request to object. So my questions are
1.) Why??? I can see maybe for a season pass or something but I bought a one day, one park, one entry ticket that's presumably voided as soon as they scan it.
2.) Out of curiosity, if I refused would I have been denied entry in the park?
3.) For whatever reason they want it I presume after a while it's of no further use for them. So do they purge all digital fingerprint scans after a while? It absolutely creeps me out knowing someone has a copy of my fingerprint.
#2
Old 12-21-2011, 09:15 PM
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Only reason i can think of is to verify who you were afterwards, if there is some problem.

If someone is raped or a child abducted in the park, they could send all the fingerprints from visitors of the appropriate age & gender to the FBI, who could search for people with prior sex crimes convictions. And the fingerprint makes good evidence, it proves that this person was in the park that day.

If your payment for the ticket bounces, they at least have your fingerprint to identify you.

Seems rather long odds, but with digital fingerprint scanners, it probably costs them almost nothing.
#3
Old 12-21-2011, 09:32 PM
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definitely interested in the "what if I said no" question. I'd hate to make it all the way to the front gate, decline to give a private company my fingerprint, and then have to drag a very sad Dudeling to spend the rest of the day on the Line Ride in the next park over.

Yes, I know if someone wanted to they could get my special-as-a-snowflake fingerprints off a discarded booger, but that's a bit different than collecting them at that scale and digitizing them on the fly.

{{{shuddder}}}

I did a quick Google search of "fingerprint site:universalorlando.com," which returned no hits--so it's not like they're providing all that much notice ahead of time.
#4
Old 12-21-2011, 09:56 PM
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The ONLY thing that would make sense to me is if you paid with a credit card. But if you are forking over the green stuff, then I'd say the fingerprinting is an invasion of privacy.

Really!


~VOW
#5
Old 12-21-2011, 10:03 PM
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Disney has been using a similar system since 2005. The purpose is to ensure that no one else is using your park pass. There's an explanation of Disney's system HERE ; where Disney goes, Universal invariably follows and the system is probably much the same.
#6
Old 12-21-2011, 10:19 PM
Shouting Grasshopper
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So, if someone from Universal's IT department gets their unencrypted laptop with everyone's credit card and fingerprint data stolen, then...?

I got an email from my Credit Union about a laptop with account information being stolen last month. So now I have a free year credit watch subscription. And it happened twice before--in 2009 and 2010 with my employer (a very large corporation). When computers get stolen from work and where I keep my money, why would my information be any safer with a theme park?

(sorry from going OT from the original question)

Last edited by blondebear; 12-21-2011 at 10:20 PM.
#7
Old 12-21-2011, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GythaOgg View Post
Disney has been using a similar system since 2005. The purpose is to ensure that no one else is using your park pass. There's an explanation of Disney's system HERE ; where Disney goes, Universal invariably follows and the system is probably much the same.
From that page (blue emphasis added):

Quote:
Does everyone that has one of those passes have to use the finger scan system?

Yes and no. Finger scans are not required for any child passes for children under age 10. Nor are they required for handicapped people who cannot use the finger scanners. If you personally prefer not using the finger scanners, a photo ID can always override the use of biometrics. Just present the gate CM a photo ID and be admitted without using the scanner. Otherwise, you will have to use the finger scanners to get in.

The FAQ is a bit reassuring (particularly that they're saying they're not using fingerprints but a non-exclusive biometric measurement of your fingers).
#8
Old 12-21-2011, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondebear View Post
So, if someone from Universal's IT department gets their unencrypted laptop with everyone's credit card and fingerprint data stolen, then...?
Then...they'll have a copy of your fingerprints? I'm not sure you can really do any mischief with a strangers credit card and fingerprint data that you can't do with just their credit card data.
#9
Old 12-21-2011, 10:36 PM
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Yeah, you're right, and a biometric scan is different from a fingerprint. I handscan customers all the time for their access cards. Still, it's just another piece of my info added to the 'nets megadatabases, and it just bugs me.

Last edited by blondebear; 12-21-2011 at 10:37 PM.
#10
Old 12-21-2011, 10:37 PM
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So....are my fingerprints a part of a mega-database now? Like if I commit murder, will I be caught. I mean it's not like I have murder on my calendar but you never know when the opportunity may arise.
#11
Old 12-21-2011, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby View Post
So....are my fingerprints a part of a mega-database now?
No, as stated, a biometric calculation based on your fingerprint (one finger) is in the database. You can't really go backwards from that to a fingerprint.
#12
Old 12-21-2011, 11:52 PM
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Back to the OP's original question, the reason why Disney and Universal do this is because even a single-day ticket is not single-entry. You can enter, leave, and re-enter (the same park for a single-park ticket) as much as you want while the ticket is valid, even if it's just one day for a single-day ticket.

Neither Disney nor Universal want you to give a ticket to someone else to use. It's strictly prohibited once you use a ticket.

It's obviously a bigger concern for multi-day tickets and annual passes than a mere single-day ticket, but they use the same finger-scan entry system for all tickets.
#13
Old 12-22-2011, 12:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
No, as stated, a biometric calculation based on your fingerprint (one finger) is in the database. You can't really go backwards from that to a fingerprint.
That is true. But let's say they recover a fingerprint from a crime scene. They could run that fingerprint through the same biometric calculation algorithm that the theme park uses and see if there is a match in the theme park's data base (assuming they can get access to the data base). THAT WOULD NOT PROVE THAT THE FINGERPRINTS ARE THE SAME. But they might be the same. If they could trace back the fingerprint to the credit card used to purchase the ticket or to the security camera footage when the ticket was used, the owner of the finger could become a suspect to investigate.
#14
Old 12-22-2011, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
THAT WOULD NOT PROVE THAT THE FINGERPRINTS ARE THE SAME. But they might be the same.
That's true in principle, but I doubt the algorithm used to hash the fingerprint is up to the level that a court would recognize it. It may be enough for an investigation and it could make you a suspect, but I doubt it would hold up to a court order to divulge CC records without someone doing some serious leg work.

My guess, however, is that the algorithm just isn't that specific. It doesn't have to be. As long as 90% of the time it rejects "bad" fingerprints at the park gate it would act as a deterrent.
#15
Old 12-22-2011, 03:15 PM
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One of the reasons why they use fingerprints is so that only you can use a ticket. You cannot give your ticket to someone else to use on another day. Your ticket and your fingerprint become one entity.
#16
Old 12-22-2011, 04:07 PM
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5 of us (4 adults and 1 kid) spent a week in Orlando this summer, and the Disney parks were the first place we had seen this.

We had bought 4 multiday adult tickets, and didn't bother to keep track of which adult used which ticket. Grab one of the 4 tickets, scan it at the park, get your finger scanned. There is no way that we each got the same ticket every day. And yet, never was anyone rejected for having the finger scan not match the ticket.

These tickets were bought from a hotel, where the concierge peeled them off of a whole stack of similar tickets. I don't think there is any way that Disney could have said "These 4 tickets go together, allow any fingerprint" So I'm not convinced that the parks are actually paying attention to the data that they are scanning.

On a funny note - As we were standing in line to get fingers scanned for the first time, my SO was trying to convince our nephew (7 years old) that the machine was going to prick his finger and take a blood sample. The kid calmly went along with it, but did give my SO the stinkeye afterwards, when only a scan was done. Now the ticket taker was laughing so hard she couldn't talk.
#17
Old 12-22-2011, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tastes of Chocolate View Post
We had bought 4 multiday adult tickets, and didn't bother to keep track of which adult used which ticket. Grab one of the 4 tickets, scan it at the park, get your finger scanned. There is no way that we each got the same ticket every day. And yet, never was anyone rejected for having the finger scan not match the ticket.

These tickets were bought from a hotel, where the concierge peeled them off of a whole stack of similar tickets. I don't think there is any way that Disney could have said "These 4 tickets go together, allow any fingerprint" So I'm not convinced that the parks are actually paying attention to the data that they are scanning.
It would be fairly easy to program the system to handle this case: the first time the ticket is used the fingerprint it scanned and recorded. When it is used later, if the fingerprint scan doesn't match, check the other tickets that were scanned near the time it was first used -- say the 6 tickets scanned before & after at that time. If one of those matches, accept it as valid.

This would handle precisely your situation -- people coming in groups and not keeping track of which person uses which ticket. The ticket computer could do this very fast -- under a second. And it would prevent time-consuming and customer-annoying problems in the line at the gate. I think it's pretty likely that Disney has actually implemented this.
#18
Old 12-22-2011, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
It would be fairly easy to program the system to handle this case: the first time the ticket is used the fingerprint it scanned and recorded. When it is used later, if the fingerprint scan doesn't match, check the other tickets that were scanned near the time it was first used -- say the 6 tickets scanned before & after at that time. If one of those matches, accept it as valid.

This would handle precisely your situation -- people coming in groups and not keeping track of which person uses which ticket. The ticket computer could do this very fast -- under a second. And it would prevent time-consuming and customer-annoying problems in the line at the gate. I think it's pretty likely that Disney has actually implemented this.
Heck, if they were all ordered at the same time, the system could have all the finger prints mapped to all the tickets.
#19
Old 12-23-2011, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdcastleman View Post
I went to Universal Islands of Adventure and when they took my ticket they had me scan my fingerprint. I was too startled by the request to object. So my questions are
1.) Why??? I can see maybe for a season pass or something but I bought a one day, one park, one entry ticket that's presumably voided as soon as they scan it.
2.) Out of curiosity, if I refused would I have been denied entry in the park?
3.) For whatever reason they want it I presume after a while it's of no further use for them. So do they purge all digital fingerprint scans after a while? It absolutely creeps me out knowing someone has a copy of my fingerprint.
When the Black Helicopters come to kidnap us & steal our organs, you will be the first to be taken.

Hope you enjoyed your ride!
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#20
Old 12-23-2011, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
Heck, if they were all ordered at the same time, the system could have all the finger prints mapped to all the tickets.
From the FAQ linked above:
Quote:
I'm the one who held all the WDW tickets and I didn't keep track of who used what ticket during our trip. We never had a problem with the finger scan not working.

That's because the Disney computer system will tag tickets purchased at the same time whether at WDW or in advance as a group when you first use them. That allows any one of that group of tickets to match the stored finger scan of any one of the other tickets.
#21
Old 12-23-2011, 01:22 PM
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Ooh I actually know this one. Being employed at Universal's Islands of Adventure (hope I saw you there!!) they extensively went over this at training/orientation. It is not your fingerprint that they are taking, but a biometric scan of your finger. This is, as stated, in order to make sure it is you using the ticket that you have purchased instead of someone who found your ticket or stole your ticket.

Now I don't know the difference between a biometric scan and a fingerprint, but they made it very clear that they are not the same thing. Basically they just took a picture of your finger. But you know multibillion-dollar corporations, nothing is ever as basic as it seems.

Also if you were able to use multiple tickets and multiple people the finger scan may just recognize that you simply have had a ticket. Perhaps if you lost your ticket completely but used it at one point, they would allow you to enter without a ticket by scanning your finger. These theme parks are surprisingly consumer friendly.

Last edited by AlmostPerfect; 12-23-2011 at 01:24 PM.
#22
Old 12-23-2011, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlmostPerfect View Post
Now I don't know the difference between a biometric scan and a fingerprint, but they made it very clear that they are not the same thing. Basically they just took a picture of your finger. But you know multibillion-dollar corporations, nothing is ever as basic as it seems.
The difference is that they retain an algorithmic representation of the fingerprint, not the fingerprint itself. They can't recreate the fingerprint from their data, they can only compare it to a new fingerprint, run it through their algorithm, and see if they match. That way, they don't retain any personally identifiable information. This is very important with today's privacy laws.
#23
Old 12-23-2011, 02:30 PM
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From what I understood in the description of the scan, they're not making/retaining an algorithmic representation of the fingerprint so much as a representation of the fingers.

Quote:
Why does Disney need my fingerprints?

The original admission system has nothing to do with your fingerprints. It scans your index and middle fingers (on two finger scanners) and uses a geometric formula to come up with a number that will identify your fingers. The calculated number is apparently something that is not totally unique, but is statistically significant in identifying you. The single finger scanners scan one fingertip for its fingerprint information.
That they're not relying on prints is also supported by:

Quote:
How does the scanner know that it is my fingers, not someone else's?

Because the first time that you use the pass, your initial biometric reading will be recorded. This is the reading that all subsequent admissions will be compared to. The scanner uses six lasers to take a picture of the contours of your fingers. If you are wearing a ring the first time you scan and the second time you are without the ring, it will not recognize you. If you use three fingers instead of 2, it will not recognize you. If you use the opposite hand, it will not recognize you. And if you wear gloves, it will not recognize you.
#24
Old 12-23-2011, 07:16 PM
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Tastes: LOL about the blood samples. Like the gizmos in Gattaca. Creepy because it's only a slight exaggeration.

Anyone: How does readmission to Universal or Disney work? Is a one day one park ticket voided as soon as I enter for the first time or can I get back into the same park the same day with my ticket. I can see why they would want to bind a particular ticket to a particular person then, so I can't sell it for 10 bucks on my way out for the day, or in case it gets lost or stolen on a trip out to my car.

At my local theme park Valleyfair (and at all of the Six Flags / Cedar Fair parks I've been too) the admission media is voided as soon as you enter the gate and you're supposed to get a hand stamp for readmission. I hate this (OCD thing probably, eww ink on my hand) so I tried once to use my season pass for a second time to get back into Valleyfair and it came back invalid so the ticket taker got a manager to approve letting me back in. I can't figure out why they wouldn't allow this normally since a season pass is bound to my picture. I can't just leave for the day and loan it to a friend.

AlmostPerfect, not like you'd remember a particular guest months later but I was there with my sister on 24 October. I rode the Hulk and the drop tower a few times and we spent most of the rest of the time with what seemed like most of the people at Harry Potter. What's funny is I have deep red hair that looks natural and people kept yelling out "I'ts a Weasley" Not having read the books or seen the movie I didn't get it until my sister told me.
#25
Old 12-23-2011, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdcastleman View Post
Tastes: LOL about the blood samples. Like the gizmos in Gattaca. Creepy because it's only a slight exaggeration.

Anyone: How does readmission to Universal or Disney work? Is a one day one park ticket voided as soon as I enter for the first time or can I get back into the same park the same day with my ticket. I can see why they would want to bind a particular ticket to a particular person then, so I can't sell it for 10 bucks on my way out for the day, or in case it gets lost or stolen on a trip out to my car.

At my local theme park Valleyfair (and at all of the Six Flags / Cedar Fair parks I've been too) the admission media is voided as soon as you enter the gate and you're supposed to get a hand stamp for readmission. I hate this (OCD thing probably, eww ink on my hand) so I tried once to use my season pass for a second time to get back into Valleyfair and it came back invalid so the ticket taker got a manager to approve letting me back in. I can't figure out why they wouldn't allow this normally since a season pass is bound to my picture. I can't just leave for the day and loan it to a friend.

AlmostPerfect, not like you'd remember a particular guest months later but I was there with my sister on 24 October. I rode the Hulk and the drop tower a few times and we spent most of the rest of the time with what seemed like most of the people at Harry Potter. What's funny is I have deep red hair that looks natural and people kept yelling out "I'ts a Weasley" Not having read the books or seen the movie I didn't get it until my sister told me.
Disney has a very complicated ticketing system, with various types of tickets, add-ons, etc. They use a hard plastic card with a magnetic strip as the ticket, and what type of ticket you've got, as well as any extras, are encoded onto this. For guests staying on Disney property at WDW, the ticket may also be their room key, their dining plan, and a card they can use to purchase items in the parks and have charged to their hotel bill. It may or may not include 'park-hopping' (the ability to visit more than one of the parks in the same day), or it may include admission to the water parks and ESPN Wide World of Sports and Disneyquest. Each ticket is coded individually at purchase. Even the most basic ticket they sell - for example, one-day admission to The Magic Kingdom only, nothing else- includes pretty much unlimited re-entry for the day, using the ticket. So, yeah, pretty much what you guessed, it's to prevent people reselling their tickets. They actually call them 'Key to the World' cards in Disney lingo. The extent to which the Disney tickets can be individualized is actually pretty incredible. It also has your name printed on it at purchase.

One oddity in the Disney ticketing system; the WDW yearly pass is actually a flimsy paper-type deal (still with magnetic strip). This is a matter of much unhappiness among annual pass holders, who would like a hard, durable plastic ticket like everyone else gets. Go figure....

Last edited by GythaOgg; 12-23-2011 at 09:29 PM. Reason: clarity
#26
Old 12-24-2011, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GythaOgg View Post
One oddity in the Disney ticketing system; the WDW yearly pass is actually a flimsy paper-type deal (still with magnetic strip). This is a matter of much unhappiness among annual pass holders, who would like a hard, durable plastic ticket like everyone else gets. Go figure....
Most WDW tickets are in fact paper, just like the passes. The plastic ones are ordinarily issued in conjunction with a hotel room booking that includes a ticket purchase. The plastic card acts as the park admission ticket, hotel room key, and charge card for items purchased on-property and charged to your room.

The only concession passholders get over regular ticket holders is a small flimsy paper sleeve to keep our passes in.
#27
Old 12-24-2011, 11:34 AM
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Agree with Bambi - the only time I've gotten a plastic ticket was when I was staying on property (and I bought passes at the same time).

My current annual passes are paper.

(and no, they aren't taking your fingerprints)

Last edited by Bloodless Turnip; 12-24-2011 at 11:34 AM.
#28
Old 12-25-2011, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby View Post
So....are my fingerprints a part of a mega-database now? Like if I commit murder, will I be caught. I mean it's not like I have murder on my calendar but you never know when the opportunity may arise.
Ever since i went to Disneyland last summer, I've scratched "Murder" off my To-Do List.

Was it the fingerprint scan? Or "It's a Small World"?
#29
Old 12-25-2011, 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by digs View Post
Ever since i went to Disneyland last summer, I've scratched "Murder" off my To-Do List.
Wow, it really must be the happiest place on earth!

As digs says: "I was going to be a mass murderer, but now instead I'm going to Disneyland!"
#30
Old 12-25-2011, 03:53 AM
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I found this site that tells you about fooling scanners. It's from 2002 so it may be outdated, but it is interesting to know the science behind it.

http://cryptome.org/gummy.htm
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