Online Tech Courses Implement Honorlock Proctoring System, Raising Privacy Concerns

Photo courtesy of Honorlock

Numerous online courses at Tech are using a new test monitoring service called Honorlock Proctoring. This service has raised concerns for students’ privacy as the system requires access to a video camera connected to the student’s computer.

By now, for better or worse, most Tech students have become well-accustomed to online learning.

However, members of Tech’s faculty still face challenges to academic integrity that accompany remote learning.

As such, many courses intend to use a proctoring service that monitors the student’s activities during a test.

According to Tech’s IT Services and Support, the Institute has chosen Honorlock Proctoring for its “automated digital proctoring services.”
Although it can be used in all courses as of this fall, it is ultimately the instructor’s choice of to what extent the system will be used.

Honorlock features direct integration with Canvas, Tech’s primary learning management system (LMS), as well as a variety of proctoring options that incorporate webcam recording and device detection.

However, the wide array of options in test administration now available to instructors raises concerns for student users’ privacy.

These concerns prompted CE undergrad Thomas Teichmann to create a petition on the Change.org platform, which urges Tech to suspend the use of Honorlock “in its current form” until its privacy policies are changed.

The petition’s demands for a new privacy policy include the deletion of collected information within twelve weeks after the end of the semester.

“During an exam session Honorlock collects prolonged recordings of the face of the exam taking student,” the petition reads, “and sensitive data like first and last name, email address, LMS user ID, and, with respect to Students, all Authentication Data (including personal information contained on a Student’s photo ID, such as driver’s license number, home address, date of birth, and other information).”

The petition also notes that currently Honorlock’s privacy policy allows for the transfer of stored data if the company was bought out or merged.
The Technique reached out to Honorlock for comment but has not yet received a response.

As of Aug. 26, the petition has 244 signatures.

When signing online, many Tech students cited their main reasons for concern as any possible data breaches and privacy leaks.

Although Honorlock does require access to the student’s webcam, it is ultimately the instructor’s decision as to whether webcam recording will be used.