It’s not just savvy PC gamers who have worries about virtual reality privacy.
“In addition to collecting information provided by consumers, Oculus automatically collects information when the consumer uses Oculus’ services,” Franken’s letter states. “Information about consumers’ physical movements and dimensions, as well as location data, can be shared with ‘other companies that are within the family of related companies that Oculus is a part of.’ The company’s privacy statement also indicates that Oculus may share de-identified or aggregated data with others for any purpose. Furthermore, the information Oculus collects can be shared with third parties to directly market products to consumers on or off Oculus’ platform. 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.”
He goes on to ask Oculus why the collection of user data is necessary, if it is properly protecting that information, and if it is selling that info to other companies or sharing it with them. He requested that Oculus answer his questions by May 13. Will Mason, editor of UploadVR, brought the privacy problem to the attention of Franken after posting about it on April 1.
Collecting user info is not uncommon for devices connected to the Internet, but people have become more sensitive about the invasion of privacy that these practices can bring. Many companies can give that data to marketers who then use it to target ads for specific audiences. Virtual reality is a relatively new market (headsets alone are expected to bring in $895 million this year, according to market researcher Strategy Analytics), so it brings with it new questions about user privacy.
GamesBeatGamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
- Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
- The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
- Networking opportunities
- Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
- Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
- And maybe even a fun prize or two
- Introductions to like-minded parties