Green Screen Review #3: VR Devices Spy on Users

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset reports your every move to Facebook and to advertisers.

When the headset’s software is installed on a computer, it adds a process that allows the PC to watch what the headset is doing and send that back to Oculus. That allows the headset to know when it is being used and turn itself on — but it also allows the company to collect information on people’s head movements and activity and send it back to advertisers.

The terms and conditions include a line saying that the headset will collect “Information about your physical movements and dimensions when you use a virtual reality headset”, along with a range of more usual information like data about users’ computers and location.

Given some of the sordid ways VR will be put to use, this “feature” should give people pause.

Will the devices promoted by the Green Screen Institute spy on users?  Will the GSI make a pledge to not support the marketing spymasters?

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About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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