Augmented and Virtual Reality Laws – Part II

The technology that we are using on a daily basis provides certain and cognizable advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are great and have allowed the public to have access to a wide range of options. The disadvantages, include, but are not limited to, security and privacy discrepancies. Technology operates to enhance a business model, idea, or operation. This is usually done by collecting and selling information for profit. These types of data collection and marketing activities have been heavily regulated by state and federal agencies in recent years. However, with every new technology, there will be new challenges.

Augmented and virtual reality technologies are no different from other types of technologies in that they are fully capable of being abused when they fall into the wrong hands. Augmented and virtual reality software or hardware applications are designed to enhance user experiences by storing and sharing information across the network. This information may include personal or confidential information that would not otherwise be accessible by third parties. Nonetheless, the designers or manufacturers of these applications make it much easier to gain access and share information with third parties – e.g., marketing or advertising agencies – which pay an incentive for gaining access to them.

The state and federal legislators should pay close attention to these technologies and their operation mechanisms so they can update existing laws and implement new laws that would properly address consumer-related issues. Now, if the AR/VR technologies are collecting health or medical information, the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) comes into play. Also, if the AR/VR technologies are collecting a minor’s information, then the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) would be applicable.

It is important for state and federal legislators to introduce and pass uniform laws which would have the least amount of conflict to minimize statutory misinterpretations or regulatory loopholes. This would, in essence, make compliance easier for the general public and the software or hardware manufacturers. Also, transparency across the board would be easier to accomplish at various levels.

Augmented and virtual reality technologies can collect and share a vast amount of information from their users. This information can be submitted and gathered from the users themselves and the special software or hardware devices. For example, the information may include biometric identifiers, usernames, email addresses, profiles and IP addresses. The information may be transferred to third-party service providers (e.g., cable providers, internet service providers, social media platforms) which would pass it along to other parties. It’s important to note that some of this information can be categorized as “observable data” which can be directly and regularly observed by third parties. For example, virtual personas or “avatars” are one type of observable data. Other types of information can be labeled as observed, computed, or associated data categories.

There are obvious privacy and security concerns when it comes to data collection. The designers and manufacturers of augmented and virtual reality software and hardware devices must follow a specific protocol. Now, this so-called “protocol” should be designed and implemented by the lawmakers at the state and federal levels. Lawmakers should ensure proper transparency, disclosure, and protective measures when introducing new legislation.

Our law firm’s augmented and virtual reality attorneys have experience in litigating cases. We have the necessary and proper experience when it comes to dealing with the judicial system. Our law firm is well known and established in this sector and can help clients when it comes to prosecuting and defending their lawsuits. We can also review their corporate business models and help establish their business operations.

Our internet and technology lawyers have been prosecuting and defending legal actions in state and federal courts and are available to speak with their clients. Our law firm assists clients in matters related to privacy and cybersecurity and the applicable state, federal, and international laws. Please contact our law firm to speak with an internet attorney at your earliest convenience.