Anti-Cheat Software Company Contracted By Rutgers Fails To Live Up To Privacy Agreement With Students
from the i-see-you dept
There has always been a strong emphasis in educational institutions on stopping cheating. All of this hand-wringing makes sense to a point, of course. With the advent of technological progress, however, two separate roads appear to be heading to a cross: the use of technology to stop cheaters and the question of just how we're going to define cheating as information becomes more widely searchable and available. For the latter, I'm very much in favor of judging students on their ability to find answers and create interesting solutions compared with the originality of their responses. As the saying goes, it's not what you think that's most important, but how you think. As to the former, it seems we can't go a single story about schools using technology to police any aspect of their students without finding some failing in its implementation.
Such as the latest instance out of Rutgers, where the school hastily dove into a partnership with ProctorTrack, an anti-cheating and student-monitoring platform that failed to live up to its end of the privacy bargain with students.
Verificient Technologies, the company behind the student-monitoring, anti-cheating software ProctorTrack, has not communicated to Rutgers students what the company has done with their personal data.Notifications that Verificient was contract-bound to supply to students upon the purging of the data it collected on them. The way this was supposed to work was that all student monitoring data would be deleted from the primary servers after 90 days, with a notice to students, and then deleted form the backup servers 30 days after that, with another notice to students. Aiding in the confusion is that Rutgers had initially told students the purges would occur within 30 days of the test, back when the school had only a verbal agreement with Verificient, as did the company on its website in what it called its "privacy pledge." That pledge appears to have been violated in the name of "we can change our promise whenever the hell we feel like it" corporate provisions.
As we reported, ProctorTrack uses remote-monitoring technology to collect audio, video, and document the web activity of students as they take the exam. The software also scans the ID, face and knuckles of the student, and takes a voice sample. But complaints from students suggest that Verificient has not sent out any notification about the status of their data.
According to the contract, which actually went into effect seven months before it was signed, students who used the software during the spring 2015 semester should have received email notifications that their proctoring data had been permanently deleted from the servers.
So who exactly is the cheater here, guys?