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27 February 2020

Protect consumers in virtual reality

Security Privacy biometrics
Photo: Hollandse Hoogte
Virtual reality (VR) is about to become popular with the general public. Scientists, technology journalists, but also the industry itself, are concerned about the use of VR by consumers. These concerns are about social relationships, but also about physical, mental, and legal effects.

Today we publish the report 'Responsible VR. Protect consumers in virtual reality'. It concerns the question of whether VR is so invasive that this technology must be regulated as medical technology. According to a literature study, misuse of market power is a possibility because of the data collected about consumers in this game environment. Large high-tech companies, such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, have invested billions in the development of VR hardware and VR platforms. More and more applications are available worldwide and in the Netherlands, and VR glasses are becoming affordable for consumers. VR is an extension of existing social media.

Political and social attention is needed to protect consumers. We must have a debate about rights in the virtual world. Can you use someone else's face or body for your avatar? Can you touch or kill someone in VR? It must be clarified what existing regulation, such as privacy legislation and consumer law, means for VR. Information and restrictions on the use of biometric data are desirable, as well as further research into the long-term effects of VR.

Responsible VR. Protect consumers in virtual reality