Privacy of Virtual Reality: Our Future in the Metaverse and Beyond
November 15, 2022
Common Sense's previous explorations into the metaverse and virtual reality have shown that potential harms abound for kids—and especially for their personal privacy. VR devices collect much more data than mobile apps and websites, including body posture, eye gaze, pupil dilation, gestures, facial expression, and even minute variations in skin color. Yet VR headsets are growing in popularity, despite all the unknowns that exist around how they impact kids and their development.
In this report, our privacy team reviewed the most popular headsets on the market to better understand how they protect—or don't protect—privacy. They looked at privacy policies, data collection, security practices, privacy settings, and advertising and marketing uses. The result? Our team cannot recommend kids' use of a single VR headset we reviewed. Every single device in one way or another puts kids' and families' personal privacy or safety at serious risk.
VR technology has incredible potential for good. The industry can take steps today to ensure kids can experience what these technologies can offer—but safely. This is a critical moment in our history to demand better privacy practices from VR companies, and to put in place stronger privacy regulations for VR technologies, to help reshape what privacy in virtual reality and the metaverse means for all of us.