An industry summit about privacy in VR will be hosted at Stanford’s Department of Communication in November, with the aim of producing a draft of a “Bill of Rights for VR consumers that also allows companies to thrive.”
Word of the summit comes from Jeremy Bailenson, the same long-time Stanford researcher who recently published a must-read book about VR and, as of today, has an opinion piece in the American Medical Association’s pediatric journal about some of the potential negative effects of nonverbal data collection in a VR headset.
Bailenson is co-hosting the privacy summit with High Fidelity CEO Philip Rosedale and they aim to address “how to balance the privacy needs of consumers with the economic goals of companies in the VR space.” Bailenson expects attendance by “about 50 decision-makers” from “many of the hardware, software, and platform companies in the VR space.” Rosedale is a veteran of social virtual world pioneer Second Life, and his new startup High Fidelity is one of the earliest and largest efforts focused on social VR.
The summit is closed to journalists, according to Bailenson, in hopes of fostering “an open deliberation”. I asked Bailenson how the voice of consumers would be heard at such a private event, and whether such a “Bill of Rights” should be established by individuals rather than representatives of companies developing intermediaries between people and reality.
Bailenson responded that those were “great points” and this is a “one day event that is designed to get the process started and to get everyone on the same page in terms of the scope of the challenge. I see many iterations of this conversation in various circles including journalists and consumers.”