Oculus to Facilitate Data Collection

We’ve all heard the saying ‘Big Brother is watching you’, as first coined in George Orwell’s 1984, and later popularised with reality television series Big Brother. There is some truth to it, perhaps not to the same length as Orwell first described, and perhaps not constructed so much as the television series. With our digital world ever increasing, it’s almost impossible not to leave a footprint the size of Big Foot’s on each and every site we visit. But it’s not necessarily just Big Brother anymore thanks to the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015, but anyone and everyone including businesses, police and our “trustworthy” government.

Where it was once only the job of private investigators, now is the business of the nation, our personal security and private information is at stake. With technology advancing at a rate we can hardly keep up with, especially in terms of paired, protective legislation it’s no wonder we are seeing a ‘black hole’ in terms of determining which of our information is private. As Jim Gearhart (2015) states “Technology advances faster than legislation”, take for example the oculus rift, according to Virtual Reality Times, “Oculus Rift is a head mounted display for immersive virtual reality. Already big in the gaming world, the Rift is also getting popular in a large number of other fields including entertainment and medicine”.

Now what’s interesting about the Oculus Rift, is that it is now owned by Facebook, which reached an agreement with the developers and decided to buy Oculus VR for $2 billion US dollars in March 2014.

Somewhat of a success story for American developers Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe, what started off as a Kickstarter project in 2012 is now funded at $2.4 million and awaiting development in late 2015/early 2016.

However despite the hype surrounding the Oculus, consumers are concerned about the privacy policies its owner, Facebook seems to lack in.

“Facebook has a very bad track record when it comes to protecting users’ privacy, and the way their business model is set up, they basically get paid to spy on you and sell your data,” Shaun Murphy, CEO of PrivateGiant stated.

So what kind of data will the Oculus be able to collect? According to TechPageOne, “In its privacy policy, Oculus Rift admits it will collect users’ basic personal information, such as email addresses, zip codes, birth date, occupation and gender. It assures users, however, “Oculus will not share with, or sell or rent to, others your personally identifiable information, such as your name and e-mail address, without your consent, except as provided herein.”

On top of this, the Oculus may also collect data including the users’ online transactions, purchase history, application usage patterns and website usage patterns… but of course won’t share that information.

But here’s the real clincher, the “Oculus does not claim responsibility for the protection of user data if a third party accesses it”. So what level of privacy can Oculus users expect? Ummm?




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