Symposium Title

The Big Data Revolution and Its Impact on the Law


Eye tracking has existed as an important tool in numerous fields since the 1950s. Today, eye tracking hardware is smaller, cheaper, and more accurate than ever. As a result, eye tracking is anticipated to be ubiquitous within Virtual Reality (VR) headsets as a way to increase calibration accuracy, as well as the user's sense of immersion. Despite the importance of eye tracking data to the fields of marketing, behavioral science, and neuroscience, sparse literature has been published regarding the privacy implications of collecting such data from unwary consumers in an age where the collection of data through Intemet-connected devices is largely unregulated. The purpose of this Comment is twofold: (1) to highlight a few of the numerous types of sensitive information that can be derived from eye-tracking data, and (2) to demonstrate an urgent requirement for legislation that comprehensively protects biometric identifiers from sale and exploitation. The current pace of legislative enactment (itself a dramatic foil to the explosive rate of technological innovation) indicates that the best way to promote user privacy as well as innovation is to promulgate laws that create a right of personal privacy in biometric identifiers, instead of laws that regulate technology. Several statutes designed to regulate technology, rather than protecting the data it can collect, have proven that such schemes are minimally effective at best, and require constant amendment and re-negotiation to the point of impotence. This Comment argues that if privacy rights are established regarding biometric identifiers, technological innovation will be welcomed with less friction, allowing for more rapid growth in a market supported by eager and informed consumers.

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