College students and their parents should know that The Hustle recently reported on Honorlock, a well-known remote exam proctoring software. Previously, we've reported on several related concerns, including incorrect flagging, spying on students, and software biases. What's unique about the article about Honorlock is that it raises a serious concern for academic misconduct: entrapment.
Exam Proctoring Software and the Possibility of Entrapment
According to the article, Honorlock raised $25 million in 2021, and more than 300 institutions were using their software at the time. How many students does that include? Over 1 million! Honorlock works primarily using Artificial Intelligence in three main ways. It scans faces to ensure students are the ones completing the assignment, it can detect cell phones or other testing aids, and finally, it tracks websites. What does that mean, specifically? It means that Honorlock creates fake websites with testing answers. The Hustle reported that Honorlock calls them “honeypots.”
This should raise a concern for families and students who are currently facing (or face in the future) accusations of cheating as the result of an Honorlock assessment. Some of their sites include “gradepack.com” and “quizlookup.com,” and Gizmodo reported in February that when students go to the site, they would see two large buttons: “show answer” or “hide answer.” If the students, in turn, selected either of the buttons, they would hear an unidentified noise that beeped. Currently, Honorlock has updated the sites, and they have information about studying best practices. However, it's not unlikely that they may have created the same type of site at a different URL. As The Hustle reports, “Critics say it's a classic case of entrapment and argue that the software creates an environment that assumes students cheat.” Companies may create sites such as these in an attempt to demonstrate that there is, in fact, a need for their product.
If you're uncertain what entrapment means, you aren't alone. Entrapment occurs when someone is induced or coerced into an action that they might not otherwise take. It's used in legal cases and may also be a potential defense or mitigating factor when facing allegations of academic dishonesty.
When students face allegations of academic misconduct, it's critical to understand that having an attorney-advisor who can help you identify concerns such as these. Academic integrity violations can impact your future beyond the individual incident. There can be financial repercussions and graduate schools or future employers may see the black mark on your academic record and refuse you admission or employment. Not only could your financial health be impacted in the short-term, but your earnings potential and more could be at risk in the long-term.
National Academic Misconduct Defense
If you or a loved one is facing allegations of academic misconduct as a result of online proctoring software, attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help you address these accusations. Contact them at 888.535.3686 or share more here.