Facebook reports that its devices store data locally and do not store it on their servers.
The two key Facebook VR products of 2019, Oculus Quest and Rift S, both rely on the camera-based Oculus Insight system.
According to Facebook, Insight is a “visual inertial helmet” system that uses “image data from cameras in the headset to create a 3D world map that defines landmarks” in combination with inertial measuring units in both the controllers and the headset. This is done by the Snapdragon Oculus Quest processor or your computer on Rift S. Images from the camera are not saved, but a three-dimensional cloud of points identifying the location of unique static environmental objects is stored locally on your device for any room where you have Guardian installed. This allows the system to recognize which room you are in and load the previously created Guardian border. Facebook tells us that this data does not leave the local device.
Facebook Oculus Quest with touch controllers. The standalone VR system includes everything you need to visit virtual worlds for $ 400.
We first reported in October last year that the white block on top of the Oculus Quest is “connected to a power sensor”. This means that whenever the camera’s sensors are powered, the light must turn on. At the end of August this year, Facebook explained in some detail what happens when this light turns on. In particular, they explained how markup measurements occur in real time with inertial measuring units in both the controllers and the headset.
“This information is only stored locally,” a Facebook spokesperson wrote in an email.
“They do not reach us.”
Quest owners can verify this information on their own using a headset with Wi-Fi turned off – either on the headset itself or in your local network window. You cannot download games or play online, but the system will still allow you to navigate in VR.
Here is a Facebook video explaining the Oculus Insight system:
Facebook uses the terminology “3D map of your environment“ to describe this collection of measurements, ”which helps you find your headset and controllers in a known space so that Quest / Rift S can work and keep you safe.”
“Today we do not collect or store images or 3D maps of your environment on our servers – images are not stored anywhere, and 3D maps are stored locally on the headset (for Quest) and on your local PC, where you have access to it and the ability to delete it (for Rift S), ”a Facebook spokesperson wrote in an email.
“However, we will notify consumers if this information is necessary for the VR experience we will be providing on Quest / Rift S in the future.”
“The only information that we store on our servers consists of performance indicators that do not contain any recognizable details about your environment,” the email said. “These metrics help us improve Oculus Insight.”
An alarming post on Reddit triggered our latest series of Facebook questions.
Now the deleted post was supposedly from someone who worked on Facebook and said that they debugged the Insight tracking system during its internal employee-based testing. The report claimed that during the Guardian passthrough’s system-driven testing process, there was a way to report bug reports. These reports allowed employees at Facebook headquarters to see screenshots, some of which included views in the bedrooms of company executives. A Facebook spokesperson wrote in an email that “the report is not a true representation of our internal testing methods.”
“For our internal testing of equipment, employees voluntarily take it home and test products. They agree to share their experiences to help improve the product for consumers, ”the representative wrote.
“Employees are given the opportunity to take a screenshot when they report errors (to help with debugging), and they can choose whether they want to submit it for review.”
The representative added that the staff were “aware / understood that if they presented an error in this passing mode, then the image of their environment would be included in the report. As we noted earlier, for internal testing only. ”
If you try to take a screenshot of the house with the consumer version of Quest, while in the Guardian view — for example, when setting up a new game space — the cameras will appear as black in the resulting screenshot.
The cameras are locked when taking a screenshot from Oculus Quest at home.
“If an employee is in passthrough mode — that is, Guardian Setup — for testing purposes, then yes, the visual effects of what the headsets might mean (their desk, etc.) will be included in the screenshot if they were to submit a bug report, ”said a company representative.
Thus, we can conclude that personal data, without the consent of the user, will certainly not be merged anywhere. So panic from scratch is simply pointless.
If something changes, VRcue will let you know.