New Infographic Highlights XR Technology Data Flows and Privacy Risks

As businesses increasingly develop and adopt extended reality (XR) technologies, including virtual (VR), mixed (MR), and augmented (AR) reality, the urgency to consider potential privacy and data protection risks to users and bystanders grows. Lawmakers, regulators, and other experts are increasingly interested in how XR technologies work, what data protection risks they pose, and what steps can be taken to mitigate these risks.

Today, the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a global non-profit focused on privacy and data protection, released an infographic visualizing how XR data flows work by exploring several use cases that XR technologies may support. The infographic highlights the kinds of sensors, data types, data processing, and transfers that can enable these use cases.

XR technologies are powered by the interplay of multiple sensors, large volumes and varieties of data, and various algorithms and automated systems, such as machine learning (ML). These highly technical relationships enable use cases like shared experiences and expressive avatars. However, these use cases often depend on information that may qualify as sensitive personal data, and the collection, processing, and transfer of this data may pose privacy and data protection risks to both users and bystanders.

“Organizations could use pupil dilation and gaze to potentially infer information—whether accurate or not—about the user, such as their sexual orientation, age, gender, race, and more,” said Daniel Berrick, a Policy Counsel at FPF and co-author of the infographic. “Organizations could also use this data to diagnose medical conditions, such as ADHD, autism, and schizophrenia. Despite

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