Can XR Avoid the Privacy Missteps of the Past?

Originally published on

One factor that’s defined the tech world in the past half-decade is privacy reform. There’s been swift backlash to the unchecked era of ad tech, which went into hyperdrive with the advanced targeting capabilities of smartphones, starting around 2007 (read: iPhone).

The resulting privacy reform has been taxing for players in the media and mobile ecosystems (often rightly so), even those who already followed good practices. And the degree of pain they now feel is a function of switching cost in pivoting from existing paradigms and procedures.

This all leads up to the concept of getting it right from the beginning. That paradigm shift wouldn’t be necessary if best practices were standardized at the starting line. This is a key concept for spatial computing and XR (AR and VR) because that’s precisely where they now stand.

These principles drive the mission of the XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). Founder Kavya Pearlman believes that pre-emptive action is needed to establish privacy and security standards. Because without them, we’re bound to repeat the mistakes of the smartphone era.

“It is not going to happen on its own,” said Pearlman. “The status quo will maintain itself, and get worse. We must make it happen […] XRSI exists to build standards, framework, and guidance so that the next generation of the Internet is open, equitable, and free from harm.”