VR/AR Privacy Concerns Emerging with the Field’s Development


Online safety has been a hot topic since the emergence of tech. As VR and AR tech progresses, there is also a need for increased security. Recent reporting highlights the top online trends when looking at online crime and ways to prevent them. The emergence of virtual reality has also added an entire new realm to online security. Experts are weighing in on how to be safe online and using virtual reality programs.

These programs still seemed like figments of the imagination in 2011, and now AR and VR are real products that have penetrated modern households. This has left a rapid increase in a rush to produce AR and VR programs. This also means that the security aspect of these programs is needed at the same rate.

Practice Optimal Safety When Using the Internet in Any Respect

Don’t disclose any information that is too personal or doesn’t need to be disclosed. It is one thing to set up an account with your email, but don’t set up your credit card unless you are explicitly purchasing something. It is important to keep track of these interactions to avoid issues.

A VPN router is always a way to protect you from having your information compromised. Advanced encryption and an altered IP address work together to keep your identity and data private. With developments in AR and VR, the VPN model will likely expand within these tech realities as well. Remember, different kinds of data means new privacy risks.

Pay Attention to the AR and VR Industry

According to advisory firm Digi-Capital, the AR/VR market will hit $108 billion by 2021. This number also will most likely include the security software that will likely get better and better with the development of this industry.

The AR and VR market is expanding into healthcare, sports, education etc., which are also industries where privacy and security are often needed. Professionals in these fields will need to remain educated and proactive when thinking of their information security.

Transparency in AR and VR

These emerging technologies raise questions about the privacy of the users. How are these companies going to secure the information gathered from their users? The companies will have to be transparent on how they use their data and where the data is stored. China for example, require foreign companies to store user data locally with Chinese tech partners such as China Telecom and Tencent. This arrangement entails a large degree of government interference and monitoring. Even if the AR or VR company maintains a decent privacy policy, an open backdoor puts users’ data at risk.

Things are equally alarming in America. Last year we saw Facebook’s reputation and credibility tarnished over data privacy breaches, while Marriott International reported that over 500 million users were impacted in a data leak. Cases like this are a nightmare in all industries and these AR and VR companies are searching for ways to manage their data ethically and safely. Potential privacy issues can singlehandedly alter a company’s image forever, which is why this field is full of companies taking their time to learn the data privacy ropes.

What are AR and VR Companies Doing for Privacy?

The creepy thing to think about is that these programs have access to the video and audio feed of the user’s surroundings. This is a level of access never before seen at this level in tech or any other industry.

Some of the larger companies working with AR and VR are: Windows Mixed Reality, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, Google Daydream, and Samsung Gear VR. All of these programs have policies available to the users and on their websites. All of their privacy policies are similar, as well. The format or wording might differ from brand to brand, but ultimately they are all the same.

The privacy policies all say that they will share data with third-party companies. This doesn’t include personal data, it’s more the standard information such as statistics on when people are playing the VR games, regional location and how they interact with the system. This is information already being collected by most apps and website, so it isn’t that invasive. They use this data for marketing within VR and AR.

This all is mostly harmless data, but many don’t want to disclose anything they don’t have to when using tech products. This leaves room for the previously mentioned security development in this industry.

These privacy policies will likely change with trial and error and as more people begin purchasing AR and VR products. There also are already many privacy policies already being used by these overarching brands. This might leave the guidelines remotely generic, since they don’t specifically mention VR and AR privacy. Some examples are HTC and Samsung. These companies both have overarching policies that are to be applied to all of their products. You can’t specifically count on tech companies to keep your data safe.

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