US Senator wants details on data harvesting by VR spex
A US Senator wants to know what the Facebook-owned Oculus is planning to do with all the user data it collects with its Rift virtual reality (VR) headset.
In a letter addressed to Oculus CEO Brandon Iribe, Al Franken (D-MN) asks what use Oculus has for the information it collects, specifically collecting and recording user’s whereabouts, activity on Oculus-hosted services, and the physical movements made while wearing the VR hardware.
“When done appropriately, the collection, storage, and sharing of personal information may enhance consumers’ virtual reality experience, but we must ensure that Americans’ very sensitive information is protected,” Franken says in his letter.
The terms and conditions have come to light as Oculus has begun shipping the first general availability models of the much-anticipated Rift headset.
Observers pointed out clauses such as Oculus laying claim to user-generated content (a practice more common with social media sites than games companies) and the recording of user activity including headset motions, and the possibility that parent company Facebook could also be granted access to the collected info.
Now, the Minnesota Senator and noted privacy advocate is stepping in to find out just what is going on.
Franken is asking Iribe to provide him with a response to a list of questions, including why it needs to collect the data on user activities and movements, what data it shares with third-party marketers, and how it plans to securely transmit and store all of the user data the Rift collects.
“I believe Americans have a fundamental right to privacy, and that right includes an individual’s access to information about what data are being collected about them, how the data are being treated, and with whom the data are being shared,” Franken said.
“As virtual reality technology evolves, I ask that you provide more information on Rift and how Oculus is addressing issues of privacy and security.” ®
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