Skip to main content

US legislator presses Oculus on user privacy

Sen. Al Franken asks Brendan Iribe for answers on company's collection and sharing of user location, physical movements, and communications

The Oculus Rift privacy policy has attracted the interest of US Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota). In a letter to Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe today (a copy of which was posted on Franken's website), the legislator raised concerns about the user information Oculus is collecting, what it is doing with that information and why.

"In addition to collecting information provided by consumers, Oculus automatically collects information when the consumer uses Oculus' services," Franken noted. "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 asked Iribe a series of questions about the necessity of collecting users' location, physical movements, and dimensions, as well as the purpose and duration for storage of communications between users. Franken further pressed for information about whether it sells or shares anonymized data with other parties and why it would do so, as well as asking what security measures were in place to protect user information.

"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," Franken said. "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."

An Oculus representative told that the company had received the letter and is reviewing it.

Read this next

Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
Related topics