Eye-Tracking in Virtual Reality

A Visceral Notice Approach for Protecting Privacy


  • Evan Selinger Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Ely Altman Yale University
  • Shaun Foster Rochester Institute of Technology




eye-tracking, privacy, visceral notice, virtual reality, metaverse


Eye-tracking is in our future. Across many fields, eye-tracking is growing in prominence. This paper focuses on eye-tracking in virtual reality as a case study to illuminate novel privacy risks and propose a governance response to them: a design shift that provides users with an experientially resonant means of understanding privacy threats. It is a strategy that Ryan Calo calls “visceral notice.” To make our case for visceral notice, we proceed as follows. First, we provide a concise account of how eye-tracking works, emphasizing its threat to autonomy and privacy.  Second, we discuss the sensitive personal information that eye-tracking reveals, complications that limit what eye-tracking studies establish, and the comparative advantage large technology companies may have when tracking our eyes.  Third, we explain why eye-tracking will likely be crucial for developing virtual reality technology. Fourth, we review Calo’s conception of visceral notice and offer suggestions for applying it to virtual reality to help users better appreciate eye-tracking risks. Finally, we consider seven objections to our proposals and provide counterpoints to them.  


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How to Cite

Selinger, E., Altman, E., & Foster, S. (2023). Eye-Tracking in Virtual Reality: A Visceral Notice Approach for Protecting Privacy. Privacy Studies Journal, 2, 1–34. https://doi.org/10.7146/psj.v2i.134656



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