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Al Franken: Oculus Responded to Privacy Concerns About Virtual Reality

Image: Al Franken: Oculus Responded to Privacy Concerns About Virtual Reality
In this Jan. 6, 2016 file photo, Alison Weber, left, instructs Peijun Guo on using the Oculus Rift VR headset at the Oculus booth at CES International in Las Vegas. Oculus has responded to Sen. Al Franken's questions about consumer privacy when using the Oculus Rift virtual reality system. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

By    |   Friday, 20 May 2016 11:50 AM

Virtual reality company Oculus responded to Sen. Al Franken's questions about consumers' privacy in a letter Thursday.

The letter addressed six questions Franken asked about how the company collects and stores user data, The Associated Press reported.

In the letter, which Franken posted on his website, The Facebook-owned company asserted that "privacy and security are core to our product and company principles" and said it "conducts ongoing privacy risk assessments and security testing."

The May 13 letter was signed by Oculus General Counsel Jordan McCollum.

The company's Rift headset system, which includes a microphone and a pair of high-definition screens, was released March 28 with a price tag of $599.

The technology "enables a uniquely immersive gaming experience," the letter said, noting that it could be used for a broad range of experiences throughout the world such as visiting college campuses, experiencing the Grand Canyon, or attending a business meeting from your living room.

The system detects movement, location, and sound and collects data on the physical movements of users.

Virtual reality analyst Anshel told Forbes last month that concerns about privacy arose because, "Oculus has not been straightforward with their users and made it clear to them that they would be collecting this much data."

In a news release, Franken, a Democrat on the Privacy Subcommittee, called the company's response "detailed" and said he would continue to work with Oculus to ensure users know how the company handles information about them.

"I believe Americans have a fundamental right to privacy, and that right includes the ability to control who is getting your personal information, how it's being used, and who it's being shared with." Franken said in the statement.

"Oculus' new virtual reality system—the Rift—is an exciting development that will have a big effect on the future of technology, which is why I want to make sure that the company is doing everything it can to protect the very sensitive, private data of its users. I appreciate that Oculus provided me with a detailed response, and I will 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."


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Virtual reality company Oculus responded to Sen. Al Franken's questions about consumers' privacy in a letter Thursday.
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2016-50-20
Friday, 20 May 2016 11:50 AM
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