Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging technology that enables new applications
but also introduces privacy risks. In this paper, we focus on Oculus VR (OVR),
the leading platform in the VR space and we provide the first comprehensive
analysis of personal data exposed by OVR apps and the platform itself, from a
combined networking and privacy policy perspective. We experimented with the
Quest 2 headset and tested the most popular VR apps available on the official
Oculus and the SideQuest app stores. We developed OVRseen, a methodology and
system for collecting, analyzing, and comparing network traffic and privacy
policies on OVR. On the networking side, we captured and decrypted network
traffic of VR apps, which was previously not possible on OVR, and we extracted
data flows, defined as <app, data type, destination>. Compared to the mobile
and other app ecosystems, we found OVR to be more centralized and driven by
tracking and analytics, rather than by third-party advertising. We show that
the data types exposed by VR apps include personally identifiable information
(PII), device information that can be used for fingerprinting, and VR-specific
data types. By comparing the data flows found in the network traffic with
statements made in the apps’ privacy policies, we found that approximately 70%
of OVR data flows were not properly disclosed. Furthermore, we extracted
additional context from the privacy policies, and we observed that 69% of the
data flows were used for purposes unrelated to the core functionality of apps.

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