The Oculus Rift, which was conceived in Irvine where the company was founded in 2012, allows the company to gather information including a user’s location, movements and interactions to use for promotional purposes.
US Senator Al Franken sent a letter to Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, asking him for more information on both the Rift and “the company’s collection, storage, and sharing of users’ personal data.”
“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,” he wrote. “As virtual reality technology evolves, I ask that you provide more information on Rift and how Oculus is addressing issues of privacy and security.”
Franken notes that Oculus using and sharing the collected information “may enhance consumers’ virtual reality experience,” but it must be done in a way where American citizens’ private information is protected.
The letter includes six questions that revolve around the information, how it’s used, and how Oculus protects it. Iribe has until May 13 to respond.
You can read the letter in full right here.
Although Oculus has not yet answered Franken’s letter, the company has responded directly to the VR community, so it seems likely that Franken will get a similar response.
In a statement to UploadVR earlier this week, Oculus said it is “thinking about privacy every step of the way,” adding that it collects user data to check device stability, address technical issues, and improve the experience overall.
“Facebook owns Oculus and helps run some Oculus services, such as elements of our infrastructure, but we’re not sharing information with Facebook at this time,” the company explained. “We don’t have advertising yet and Facebook is not using Oculus data for advertising.”