US Senator challenges Oculus Rift on data sharing policies and users’ privacy

By Shabana Arif, Monday, 11 April 2016 15:55 GMT

Senator Al Franken writes public letter to Oculus Rift and requests a response within the month.

senator al franken

United States Senator, Al Franken, has issued a public letter to Oculus rift in regard to their data policies and users’ privacy.

Writing to Oculus Rift CEO, Brendan Iribe, Al Franken asks some pertinent questions about the data the company is collecting, why it requires this information, and what it intends to do with it.

“In addition to collecting information provided by consumers, Oculus automatically collects information when the consumer uses Oculus’ services. 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,” Franken begins, before asking how the collection of this data is necessary for Oculus to provide services, what other purposes the company has for gathering this information, who the data is shared with, and how long user communications are retained.

Franken had similar concerns when he contacted Google about what they do with data on schoolchildren, earlier this year.

In his letter he states, “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.”

Oculus have confirmed that they’ve received the letter. The senator has requested a response by May 13.

With our society’s lackadaisical attitude towards maintaining privacy and data sharing, it’s good to see companies being questioned about why they need to collect data of this kind as part of their terms of use and what they plan on doing with the information they collect.

We’ll keep an eye out for Oculus’ reply.

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