STOP RESPONDUS LOCKDOWN MONITORING AT ALAMO COLLEGES DISTRICT

STOP RESPONDUS LOCKDOWN MONITORING AT ALAMO COLLEGES DISTRICT

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Rey Garza started this petition to Alamo Colleges District and

Since COVID-19 remote learning is everywhere, and applications like Respondus LockDown Browser have become popular. However, campuses nationwide are reversing that decision due to the privacy violation. We already have to teach ourselves the majority of the course due to remote learning/online school, this is just adding more stress, it's unacceptable, and a massive violation of privacy.

By agreeing to Respondus’ Terms you agree to use the software at your own risk, and agree that Respondus shall not be liable if a security breach occurs, if the site malfunctions, or if information is mismanaged or misused in any way to your detriment or the detriment of a student or third party, whether by Respondus, your institution, or an unauthorized third party. It has students:

  • Install closed source software they may not trust, which may not support their operating system of choice.
  • Give Respondus full admin abilities
  • Requires a computer that Respondus is compatible with, that many students don't have the funds or access to.
  • Record their entire room, stand up and show an empty desk(entire view), under chairs/desk/floors.
  • Records students showing their university ID, State ID or government ID and storing this data on their servers
  • Makes you use a mirror to show the camera a view of your computer and desk. Once the exam begins using the mirror again.
  • Records your keystrokes! (very creepy). Right away that gives them access to your school login info.
  • Reportedly scans our computers’ registries (part of Windows that contains highly sensitive data such as which programs we have installed and sensitive stored information)
  • Tracks our eye movements to an extent that a professor has warned his students that, during an exam, “you cannot look away from the screen. Not even for a second." Not easy for someone with anxiety or ADHD.
  • Stores our data available for download for up to a year (when it's downloaded it can be stored an infinite amount of time)
  • Records audio/video (supposedly only when it's open). But again closed source so we will never know the true possibilities.

We were not notified before registering and paying for remote learning classes the removal of our privacy would be required for the course. We are coerced to give consent for this Respondus Spyware or essentially face the consequences of a harder test. But you cannot give consent under coercion. If you refuse to give up your privacy to Respondus you will not be allowed to take the Exam. Instead, you will be given an alternate and harder exam in no way equal or fair to every student. 

In addition, students are living and working in a variety of non ideal environments including residing with other people, parents, roommates. A computer is not solely a tool for education, and is a tool that Is used for outside jobs, and personal life. Others may be recorded in the background that don't consent to it. Students are uncomfortable putting this unknown software on a computer that stores a ton of personal, private information in addition to school work.  Plus reports of crashes and computer lockout have been well documented with Respondus.

A professor at Harvard has said that “I just didn’t think it was appropriate to sort of introduce that level of intrusion of technological intrusion into the test taking process.” Multiple teachers’ unions have written to their universities in complaint against this invasion of their students’ privacy. Some universities have already decided to reverse their decision to use this invasive application after similar student initiatives.

With all the privacy and security red flags, we are calling on all colleges in the Alamo College District (San Antonio) to stop this massive invasion of privacy and provide an alternative form of assessment, such as:

  • Ban the use of surveillance techniques that extend beyond information obtained from normal web browser
  • Ban the use of a live video and/or audio feed for the purposes of monitoring a student
  • giving the same online exams without invasive proctoring software
  • online assignments
  • open-book exams

I agree that these are challenging times living through a pandemic and solutions need to me made. But throwing away the privacy, personal data, living quarters, safety, and security of students in hopes that it will end cheating is not the answer.

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