Facebook’s long-anticipated virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift, is finally available. It costs $600, requires a powerful computer to run, and is sold out for months due to demand.
You get much more than just a headset for your money; the Oculus Rift package also includes the game “Lucky’s Tale”, an Oculus Remote, an Xbox One gamepad, and the Oculus Sensor.
The Oculus Sensor is a camera that looks a bit like a futuristic microphone.
You plug the Oculus Sensor into your computer (via USB) and it tracks your head movements — a critical function in delivering high-end, immersive VR. When your head moves, it knows, and what you see is reflected by that movement in real-time.
The camera tracks sensors hidden behind sheer cloth on the outside of the Rift headset, like so (care of iFixit):
This is the excerpt in question:
Location information, which can be derived from information such as your device’s IP address. If you’re using a mobile device, we may collect information about the device’s precise location, which is derived from sources such as the device’s GPS signal and information about nearby WiFi networks and cell towers.
His questions range from asking why Oculus needs location and movement data, to how secure that data is, and how the data will be monetized. An Oculus VR rep told Tech Insider, “We received the letter and are reviewing it”, but offered no other comment regarding its contents.
It’s not clear why Oculus needs data on movement.
Location data provides useful technical information about the scenario in which a problem occurred. Movement data is harder to logically justify.
Here’s what Oculus VR’s corporate communications told Tech Insider when we asked how the company uses the data captured from users:
We want to create the absolute best VR experience for people, and to do that, we need to understand how our products are being used and we’re thinking about privacy every step of the way.
In regard to sharing information, Facebook owns Oculus and helps run some Oculus services, such as elements of our infrastructure. That said, we’re not sharing information with Facebook, but we may do that in the future. We don’t have advertising yet and Facebook is not using Oculus data for advertising — these are things we may consider in the future.
“When you install Oculus Home and agree to the terms of service, you are agreeing to let Facebook use any and all information it can glean from your machine/Rift/microphone to better target ads/sell to third parties,” Reddit user Woofington wrote. And that’s before people started asking why Oculus needs movement date.
We asked Oculus why that information is collected and how it’s used to serve customers, but we haven’t heard back as of publishing.