Where You Look Is Personal

Joseph Jerome is a privacy attorney in Washington, D.C. The Apple Vision Pro. Source This week’s reveal of Apple’s Vision Pro mixed reality headset demonstrates once again how much sensitive information will be needed to make more usable immersive technologies. One area worth more attention is the device’s technical capacity to create a user experience driven by a person’s eyes, hands, and voice. Whether we are talking about VR headsets or AR glasses, these technologies will be fueled by the collection of body-based data. This information is necessary for this tech to function, but the ability of this data to be used for what’s been called biometric psychography or to further infer sensitive data about users presents a major concern.  The specific privacy implications of eye tracking have received much attention by both researchers and in the popular press. At a basic level, eye gaze can indicate our general level of interest in what we look at. Eye movements can be used to infer a person’s age and gender, as well as medical conditions, fatigue, or other impairments. While there may be other ways for companies to learn this information, gleaning these insights from eye data is problematic because of how involuntary many of our eye movements can be.  We often don’t realize how little control over our eyes that we have. Companies may argue that eye tracking should be treated as analogous to mouse movements, but we don’t realize how little control over our vision we truly have. Eye…Where You Look Is Personal