The web giant Meta, which brings together Facebook and Instagram, has announced his latest virtual reality headset during the Meta Connect 2022 event on October 11. The company introduced new features for improve digital avatars. However, this has raised privacy concerns regarding data collection.
On September 30, Meta informed about thearrival of NFTs on Facebook and Instagram. Today, the web giant continues its progress in Web3 with the arrival of its new virtual reality headset: the Quest Pro.
The latter uses no less than 5 internal cameras that are positioned so that they can observe eye movements and facial expressions. In addition to that, the helmet has 5 external cameras. These will later be used to capture other body movements to mimic those in the real world. And finally, the helmet also has joysticks to be able to control your avatar in the metaverse.
Sneak peek of the future today at Meta Connect 🔮:
✅ Our first mixed reality device @MetaQuestVR Pro
✅ The start of a new way to work in the metaverse
✅ Cutting-edge @RealityLabs research to build technology that connects people
— When (@When) October 11, 2022
All these accessories were created for improve the visual of avatars in the metaverse. According to the internet giant, they will faithfully and uniquely reflect the emotions of users.
All of these VR headset upgrades follow a post from Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg. Indeed, last August, a tweet made Internet users laugh a lot about the graphic quality of the metaverse.
Second Life 2007. Metaverse 2022. pic.twitter.com/2JByEzk5eL
— Andres Guadamuz (@technollama) August 17, 2022
However, if you want to get this new gadget from Meta, it will take about 1 800 €…
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Privacy issues regarding data collection
Often faced with ethical issues related to confidentiality and privacy, Meta’s VR headset is no exception. Facebook had been in trouble for using and collecting biometric data between 2010 and 2018. The company had to pay $650 million to settle the dispute. In total, this amounted to $345 per claimant.
Even though the headset is disabled by default for face tracking, some experts believe it won’t last long. Additionally, while companies claim they don’t use or sell this data, there are plenty of reports to prove otherwise. These data are frequently sold to advertising organizations in order to better target the needs of Internet users. Paradoxically, even though governments try to protect the privacy of Internet users, they are also fond of this kind of data. In effect, the French government is demanding more and more data. There were 140,875 requests in 2020 compared to only 128,617 in 2019, an increase of 9.5%.
In response to the accusations, Facebook said thatit would delete all data from facial recognition. This represents a total of more than a billion people. However, the company does not do this voluntarily since government investigations and class actions lobbied the social media giant.
Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen expressed concern about Meta’s plan for the Metaverse:
Platforms like TikTok, where a small portion of content generates most views, are easier to moderate compared to Facebook’s larger model. In virtual spaces where Meta is betting big, moderating content, removing misinformation, and tracking offenders will be a challenge, as interactions aren’t recorded.
The whistleblower concluded by recalling that there would always be a gap between what companies announce to the general public and what they really do behind our backs. Meta’s business model is based on data collection and how to monetize it.
CEO Andy Yen, founder of encrypted messaging service ProtonMail, also expressed his fears:
“Meta is building a new infrastructure where leaders control everything. They control the devices, they have the VR headsets, you are now in their world, on their devices, on their platform”
Mixed reviews on Twitter
As always on the internet, opinions differ and the Meta Quest Pro is no exception. On the one hand there are those who appreciate, like this user below who has experimented with Minecraft. She responds to the German youtuber Docm77 known on the same game who thinks that VR is not a good idea without Holodeck.
It’s amazing playing Java Minecraft in VR. I disagree with you on this one Doc. The bigger issue is who controls the Metaverse, we don’t want Meta without at least guaranteed privacy restrictions once eye tracking becomes standard.
— LightningAussie⚡️#SnifferSupremacy (@LightningAussie) October 16, 2022
As for the personalities of the crypto world, Vitalik Buterin gave his opinion. For him, thee Metaverse will fail because of centralisation which is coming back strong. Moreover, he adds that people do not yet know what they want and are not ready.
The “metaverse” is going to happen but I don’t think any of the existing corporate attempts to intentionally create the metaverse are going anywhere. https://t.co/tVUfq4CWmP
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) July 30, 2022
Despite the criticisms, Meta continues to invest in the metaverse. You should know that billionaire Mark Zuckerberg has lost a large part of his fortune and has recently been removed from the Forbes ranking of the richest men on the planet. Moreover, Meta has embarked on the NFT adventure, but the sector is collapsing. A new success seems essential for the internet giant, but will it come from the Metaverse?