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The Oculus Rift Terms of Service are a Chilling Reminder That the Company is Owned by Facebook

by • April 4, 2016 • No Comments

oculus-rift-transparent-300x168The advertising algorithms employed by Facebook are the stuff of legend, and for years they have been plagued by privacy advocates as invasive and excessive. Because Facebook is a free service, it is dependent on alternative forms of rin factue generation, primarily with the marketing of its user base to those caning to pay. And thinking the size of the company and how profitable Facebook is, unquestionably they are quite great at what they do. I’ve accepted long ago that the internet runs on ads, and I’ll admit that I’d pretty ads be targeted to me and my interests than just produced at random. But in fact I’m taken back when, for instance, I say a thing of my dog on Facebook and less than an hour later see pet-themed ads, or when I search for a thing online and rapidly see ads on Facebook that reflect that search.

But as I said, Facebook is a free service, so being publicized
to is a trade-off that I’m caning to pay for access to the platform. It is a various story when a device that I’ll be required to pay for, and content that I’ll be required to pay for, is utilized to market to me. Which is exactly what Facebook plans to use their next Oculus Rift headset to do. Gizmodo took a nearer appear at the Terms of Service for the device, and what they discovered was frankly a little terrifying in terms of privacy. It may be expected that Facebook may track sure aspects of users’ Oculus experience, be it purchases or the type of games or experiences utilized on the device, but it is in fact far additional intrusive than that. Not just can the device collect data of users while wearing the device, but it can collect A LOT of data:

“Information of your interactions with our Services, like information of the games, content, apps or other experiences you interact with, and information collected in or through cookies, local storage space, pixels, and much like technologies (additional information of these technologies is on the market at https://www.oculus.com/en-us/cookies-…);

Information of how you access our Services, that include information of the type of device you are via (such as a headset, PC, or mobile device), your browser or operating process, your Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, and sure device identifiers that may be one-of-a-kind to your device;

Information of the games, content, or other apps installed on your device or provided through our Services, that include of third parties;

Location information, that can be derived of information such as your device’s IP address. If you are via a mobile device, we may collect information of the device’s exact location, that is derived of sources such as the device’s GPS signal and information of nearby WiFi networks and cell towers; and

Information of your physical movements and size when you use a virtual reality headset.”

Those are a few quite broadly drawn statements that may potentially be utilized for a few truly scary privacy violations. Especially when you consider how Facebook plans to use any and all information that they collect of you.

“To market to you. We use the information we collect to send you promotional messages and content and otherwise market to you on and off our Services. We in addition use this information to measure how users respond to our marketing efforts.”

Mina Products oculus riftAgain, it is no surprise that facebook wants to market stuff to you, but this is not a free service that has a price tag attached to it in the form of advertising, this is a device that users pay for. It is a little absurd that users are buying a $600 device for the privilege of Facebook advertising to them. Tracking purchases, tracking movements and in fact tracking exactly what they’re doing within of the VR environment leaves a trail that many users may find troubling. When you combine that with the fact that the Oculus Rift is always on, the company can track you equitewhere that you go, in fact if you are not via the device but just have it stashed in your backpack. And in fact worse, what users do or turn it into while via the Oculus Rift won’t quite in fact belong to them, at very least not in any way that matters.

“Our Services may include interactive showcases and areas where you may submit, post, upload, publish, email, send or otherwise transmit content, that include, but not limited to, text, images, photos, videos, sounds, virtual reality environments or showcases, software and other information and materials (collectively, ‘User Content’). Unless otherwise agreed to, we do not claim any ownership rights in or to your User Content.

By submitting User Content through the Services, you grant Oculus a of the world, irrevocable, perpetual (i.e. lasting forever), non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free and fully sublicensable (i.e. we can grant this right to others) right to use, copy, display, keep, adapt, publicly perform and donate such User Content in connection with the Services. You irrevocably consent to any and all acts or omissions by us or persons authorized by us that may infringe any moral right (or analogous right) in your User Content.”

Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset.

Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset.

So yes, if users turn it into a thing within of a virtual reality environment and so Facebook has the right to use it yet they wish, and they have the right to sell access to that content to third parties who can use it yet they wish. So any artwork created via Oculus apps can fundamentally belong to Facebook, and what can that mean for private conversations? For business meetings being held in virtual reality environments, can those be considered private or can anything said be utilized by Facebook to sell an ad a fewwhere?

What is quite worria few yet is the fact that there are no unquestionably described limits of what these terms mean and how the information can be utilized. It may begin off, and be explained away by the company, as relatively benign ad targeting. But the terms are not described as benign, so there are no limits in place to prin factt excessive tracking and monitoring. And how long preceding the NSA or the FBI demand that Facebook hand over detailed tracking records for suspects? I’m not suggesting that Facebook is in any hurry to hand over the keys to the NSA, yet it is just a matter of time until demands take place, and the sheer amount of information that can be accessed is frightening.

There are a lot of virtual reality headset options on the horizon, yet the initially out of the gate can be the long-anticipated Oculus Rift, that is sure to be the industry leader. So it is a little troubling that right out of the gate a new paradigm for privacy is being set for virtual reality devices, and it is unlikely that other manufacturers can not follow suit. You can read the entire Terms of Service for Oculus Rift here. Is this a thing you may agree to? Discuss in the Oculus Rift Terms of Service forum over at 3DPB.com.