Technology

Franken presses for privacy info on Oculus Rift

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is pressing the company Oculus VR to answer more questions about its collection and sharing of information gathered from customers who purchase its virtual reality headset. 

Franken’s questions come just a week after the Oculus Rift virtual reality setup began shipping to homes. In his letter to the company’s CEO, the senator asked how and why it shares information about customers’ location and physical movements. 

{mosads}He also asked which companies Oculus, which is owned by Facebook, sells anatomized data to and what kind of privacy protections the company has in place. 

“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 said in his letter

“As virtual reality technology evolves, I ask that you provide more information on Rift and how Oculus is addressing issues of privacy and security.”

The senator called the technology an “exciting development” and asked the company to respond by May 13. 

The company, purchased by Facebook in 2014, recently began selling its product for $599. Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has called virtual reality hardware the next major computer platform. 

The company said it automatically collects information about a customer’s movements and location data and can share it with companies of which it is a part. 

Franken’s letters to technology companies have become standard over the past few years, as he has taken a larger interest in their privacy practices. He has sent similar requests for information to Google, Samsung, Uber and Lyft. 

During a hearing earlier this week, he described his technique to bring tech companies’ privacy policies into the spotlight. 

“One tactic I frequently use is to simply ask these companies to provide more information on their privacy policies, which are often vague, confusing and misleading — maybe all deliberately,” he said during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing. 

Tags Al Franken Oculus Rift

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