Oculus Rift to Franken: We need the data we collect from users, and we keep it safe

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Al Franken told Oculus Rift he had questions about the data the virtual reality headset collects.

The company's response? Basically, we know what we're doing and we've got it covered.

Oculus – which makes the virtual reality headset Rift – responded this week to questions posed by the U.S. Senator last month about the company's privacy policy.

In the letter sent to the CEO of Oculus VR, Franken called virtual reality "exciting," but noted it's "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."

The Rift is worn on a user's head and can track movement of users, their location and nearby sound.

Franken wanted clarifications about what types of data the headset collected from users, and how that data was then being stored and shared with companies such as Facebook (which owns Oculus).

Oculus' response

Oculus said in a response letter released by Franken Thursday (you can read it in full here) that data collection of users' movements is "a necessary tool to deliver a safe, comfortable and seamless VR experience"

Oculus continued saying it also collects physical dimensions to do things like calibrate the distance between someone's eyes and the visuals to help improve clarity; or to determine whether or not a player is sitting or standing.

Franken also said he was concerned about aggregated data, even if it's stripped of a user's identity, getting sold to other companies.

"We share data as necessary to provide our services and enhance the availability of relevant VR products for people," Oculus said. "For example, we might provide developers with aggregate statistics about the percentage of users who stand or sit while they play a game, so they can develop future experiences to suit the mobility of their audience and the amount of space they will use in VR."

As for the safety of that data, Oculus said it's relying on Facebook's data centers, as well as their team of security experts, to keep all the information secure.

Franken said he appreciated the ""detailed response" from Oculus, adding he'll "continue working with the company to ensure Oculus users have greater clarity about the company’s current practices and are provided necessary updates about any future uses of their personal information."

Next Up

Duluth and Case Recreation Center

St. Paul to open two extra temporary shelters for homeless people

Mayor Melvin Carter announced the new shelters will be opened in the event of excess demand.

vote, election

Minnesota once again had the highest election turnout in the country

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a record percentage of voters also sent in absentee ballots.

court gavel

Minneapolis man sentenced to 30 years for death in robbery gone wrong

James Moore was sentenced in the death of Malik Smith.

Em1jOWyWEAwspXK (1)

St. Paul homicide suspect arrested by FBI in Chicago

A 34-year-old Minneapolis man was killed in the Nov. 14 shooting.

Sanford Health

Sanford Health 'parts ways' with CEO after his face mask comments

Kelby Krabbenhoft had been with the company since 1996.

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day 2020?

Most services will not be running on Thursday and unlike most years, many stores will be closed, too.

PennyMomentos

How a turkey's brush with celebrity in Bloomington came to a tragic end

DNR: if you care about wild animals, stop feeding them

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers/Badgers football game canceled due to COVID-19 issues

The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will not take place for the first time since 1906.

coronavirus, Iowa

MN health officials don't think downside of COVID-19 peak has arrived

We could be in a trough between a series of waves, Jan Malcolm said.

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.

Related

Franken to Yahoo: Why did it take 2 years to discover data breach?

Minnesota U.S. Senator and Congress' resident data protector Al Franken has turned his ire on Yahoo! after a huge data breach.

General Mills accused of collecting data from kids

General Mills is coming under fire by nearly 20 children’s advocacy, health and public interest groups for violating a federal law to protect children's privacy, the New York Times reports. The coalition claims five well-known companies, including the Golden Valley-based cereal maker, are encouraging kids, who play games or use other features on their websites, to provide email addresses of their friends without seeking parental consent.