Stop the use of Proctortrack at Western University

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Proctortrack very simply, is a blatant disregard for students’ privacy and the security of their information in the face of “integrity”. It is invasive and a breach of ethics. Invading students’ privacy through the extreme collection of data it unknowingly collects with unrestricted access to your computer.  The extent of the information collected is unwarranted and poses a massive security risk for students’ privacy. There is an irony that professors are unable to record due to privacy concerns, but the university willingly lets a third-party company collect student data without option. Furthermore, Proctortrack is a United States company, where personal (including biometric) data will be crossing borders internationally which, under the Patriot Act, allows any and all United States intelligence agencies and law enforcement immediate and permanent access to it without a warrant. A quick look through the privacy policy on Proctortrack’s website will tell you what they can collect:

“Personal Information collected through our Services may include, but is not limited to, the following:

-          Name Address

-          Zip Code

-          Photograph of identity document, such as a driver’s license

-          Photograph of you

-          Telephone Number

-          Usernames and Passwords

-          Name of the Test Sponsor(s) 

-          Employment information

-          E-mail address

-          Test submissions

-          Screen-captures

-          Audio and video recordings of you taking tests and the test-room environment

-          Biometric data, including biometric identifiers (such as scans of hand or knuckles) and biometric information (such as knuckle, face, or keystroke patterns)

-          Government-issued identification number (if required, or as included in the identity document you provide)”

Furthermore, the absolute control this software has on your machine is ludicrous. It shares parallels with spyware, keyloggers, and malware. Considering some professors agree with the stance students are taking, Western University should strongly reconsider their choices. This software is anxiety-inducing and hinders the process for exams; there are better methods that could be considered. 

Facial recognition software and biometric scanners have been shown to uphold racial bias and cannot be trusted to accurately evaluate people of color. Eye movement and body movement is natural and unconscious, and for many neurodivergent people is completely unavoidable. For some, the freedom to get up and move around and take breaks from the test is paramount to success. How will this affect people with autism, ADHD, Tourettes, general anxiety disorder? How will this affect people with pets, children, or shared living spaces who cannot guarantee that they will be uninterrupted or have a quiet environment to work in?

How will this affect people who do not have access to the technology or hardware to meet the requirements for these tests? How will people be able to use the bathroom? Some tests can take certain students upward of 4.5+ hours, and some students have bowel or bladder issues that cause them to require the use of bathrooms more frequently. It is completely unrealistic to disallow students to use the bathroom during exams, especially since this is allowed during on-campus exams.

We call on:

- Students to express their opposition to invasive proctoring software to their professors and departments, and to withdraw from classes that include its use when feasible to do so;

- Professors to refuse the use of invasive software for their exams and to express their opposition to the dean of their department;

- Departments/Faculties to prohibit the use of Proctortrack in classes under their umbrella, and to express their opposition to the administration of the University;

- and Western University to immediately cease all plans for the usage of Proctortrack for examination purposes.