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Minnesota senator raises privacy concerns about Oculus users

Minnesota Senator Al Franken raised privacy concern of Oculus Rift users.

As virtual reality is becoming more mainstream, it is getting attention from lawmakers. Senator Al Franken from Minnesota has raised questions about Oculus Rift's privacy issue recently. As the Rift can record the users' views, movement, and actions, it would very easy to gather data from users -- even without their knowledge. Senator Franken questioned where the collected data would go.

In Franken's letter to the state, he said:

“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 is a consumer advocate. Besides scrutinizing the Rift, he has also called into question the privacy policies of companies like Uber.

According to Rift's privacy policy, the company only uses the collected data for telling the user's current coordination, promoting new games or content, customizing the user experience, and technical support. In other words, the company claims they only use the data to market products and services to users.

But at the same time, Rift's shares the information with their related companies. Notable "related companies" are Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp. Lastly, third party companies that acquired permission from users can use their information.

The issue of privacy can become complicated when there are too many parties get involved. Although Rift probably invaded anyone's privacy thus far, it is good to raise awareness on privacy with a new trending technology. In the future, there may be laws and regulation regarding privacy and virtual reality.

Published Apr. 14th 2016

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