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Oculus is updating its privacy policy ahead of May 25, when the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will take effect. Facebook’s virtual reality division will debut its new privacy policy tomorrow, followed by a May 20 rollout of a new dashboard for users to view the data they’ve already shared.

“My Privacy Center” will enable users to check out their privacy settings and download all the data they’ve shared so far with Oculus, mirroring Facebook’s earlier announcement of a similar dashboard to comply with the GDPR. The new European regulation affects all companies that handle the personal information of EU citizens, and the social media giant has recently taken steps to minimize how this will affect its operations. Next month, it will be shifting its data processing from Ireland to the U.S. for 1.5 billion users so that their data will not be under the purview of EU law.

In a blog post, Oculus notes that its new privacy policy will include examples of developers could use users’ data. Its Terms of Service will also widen to include augmented reality along with VR. Oculus’s existing privacy policy details the information the company collects, which includes users’ location data, “physical movements and dimensions,” and Internet Protocol (IP) address. Some information, like players’ movements, is “de-identified,” which means that the user’s information is separated from the data being recorded. Oculus also shares data with Facebook, as well as other affiliated companies, and it’s clear that this data-sharing won’t be curtailed under the new policy.

However, the updated privacy policy will clarify some of what the data is used for. For instance, Oculus will collect personal information about a user if someone reports them for abuse. It also specifies what kind of movement data it will record, such as the size of a user’s designated play area when they are using the Oculus Guardian System.

Users won’t be able to opt out of sharing this information, since they agree as part of the Terms of Service. Some people have previously voiced concerns about Oculus’s privacy policy, particularly the location-tracking aspect. In 2016, former U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) posted an open letter to the company, questioning the need for the data and whether or not it’s secure.

Schell Games’ chief production officer Chuck Hoover thinks that the new privacy policy could be a step in the right direction, though. The VR studio developed the popular escape-the-room game I Expect You to Die, which is available on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR.

“Player privacy in the game industry is not always at the forefront of most companies’ minds, but it is essential for a player’s peace of mind,” said Hoover in an email to GamesBeat. “It is heartening to see Oculus making it a priority.”


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