Oculus Rift data sharing policies challenged by US senator

Ben Parfitt
Oculus Rift data sharing policies challenged by US senator

A US senator has issued an open letter to Oculus over concerns over the information it is collecting about its users.

The concerns were first outlined by UploadVR. It noted that all Oculus games must be loaded via the company's own software, and that in turn is linked to a process called OVRServer_x64 which is constantly sending the receiving data from the Oculus servers.

This allows Facebook's Oculus to not only track what software you're using, but also an individual's tracking data, including details such as what items or areas they focused on in-game and for how long. Even if a user goes offline after logging in, it also seems that said data is still tracked and then uploaded at a later stage.

Oculus has openly admitted this data is used for marketing purposes (either directly or by third parties), too.

Furthermore, most of these policies were put into place long after pre-orders (and certainly its Kickstarter campaign) began.

Oculus' creation of an immersive virtual reality experience is an exciting development, but it remains important to understand the extent to which Oculus may be collecting Americans' personal information, including sensitive location data, and sharing that information with third parties,” senator Al Franken wrote.

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.

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. Consumers must be able to make informed decisions about whether and with whom they share such sensitive information, and they must be assured that, when the information is shared, it will receive the utmost protection.

However, questions remain regarding Oculus' data collection of certain types of information and Oculus' relationships with third parties.”

Franken goes on to ask for clarification on whether the data gathering is needed for the provision of service, how long Oculus retains the data and what security measures are in place to protect the data.

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