The increased need for proctoring software in American education has made students the guinea pigs in a still-developing field. For over 2,000 universities throughout the country, the use of this untested software now poses a problem for students and staff alike. Students who have used the software report interactions with malware that has compromised their private data.
What is more, this software has repeatedly been shown to hold a bias against students with disabilities or students of color. While the field is still growing, the use of certain proctoring software has resulted in aggressive accusations of academic misconduct across U.S. universities.
As of December 2021, there is no law in the United States specifically dictating how today's proctoring software can be used. That said, the appearance of tag-along malware has opened the floor to conversations about students' at-home privacy rights.
Today's Use of Proctoring Technology
A Dutch cybersecurity company tested several proctoring programs that universities required students to download and use during the Spring 2021 testing season. Tests of programs, including Proctorio, revealed that some programs could activate students' web cameras and screenshot their content without their knowledge or consent, and misuse their personal data.
While many software developers believe the integration of malware into proctoring technology was inevitable, those same developers strove to address student and staff concerns as quickly as possible. Even so, the damage was done. Students whose lives were already disrupted due to the transition into at-home learning saw their data compromised as a result of proctoring software's underdeveloped security protocols.
Identifying the Problem
Like many industries, the world of proctoring software faced an abrupt change in early 2020. Universities attempting to accommodate at-home learning wanted to turn to proctoring software to limit student misconduct, whether or not students were reportedly engaging in such behavior.
Unfortunately, this use of proctoring software rapidly revealed the product's flaws. Students using Honorlock and ProctorU reported false accusations of cheating based on a student’s skin color. Disabled students also reported bias within these programs.
What's more, students reported finding proctoring programs invasive. While the perceived need for such programs is understandable, considering the value of academic honesty, students report that the use of their web cameras, touchpad tracking, and data assessment distracted them more so than aided them throughout their at-home testing experience.
Reactions to Security Breaches
Proctorio isn’t the only proctoring software to see a significant data breach, but this most recent security blunder saw Proctorio specifically separate from several American universities. The speed with which its team and others reacted, however, limited reports of further cyberattacks, helping the software retain some of its audience.
To complicate matters further, students' reports of false misconduct charges have not ceased. As it stands, proctoring software's misuse of student data can threaten a student's academic and professional career if it isn't addressed with the student's best interest in mind.
All that said, students and staff alike still face challenges when contending with the need for more secure remote learning opportunities. While the companies behind monitoring programs like Proctorio are now working to protect their users, it's up to individual universities and attending students to find a new and just path forward.
Moving Forward With Remote Proctoring
Many universities advocate for the use of remote proctoring software out of fear of students' academic misconduct. In 2020, the vast majority of faculty across the United States reported that they believed remote students were cheating when participating in online exams. Unfortunately, this belief - partnered with the insecurity of today's proctoring software - can lead to the abuse of students' rights and false accusations leveled against a student body.
Students accused of academic misconduct online or in-person have the right to a legal defense. For more information about student misconduct cases involving at-home proctoring software, students and their families can contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the team at the Lento Law Firm. Having an experienced student misconduct attorney represent accused parties as they combat the allegations brought against them will always be the best step forward. Call 888-535-3686 today.