Stop the use of “LockDown Browser” at Ontario Tech University

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Stop the use of “LockDown Browser” and proctored exam software at Ontario Tech University. With another semester online, the probability of exams being online is likely. Although it is understood and fair for the faculty to have some restrictions on exams, the spyware currently in place is extremely invasive. In the terms and conditions of the software, it states that it records your camera and microphone, as well as all background network activity. With the frequency of online database leaks, it is an extreme privacy issue for the student of the University. Having students write an exam while being recorded and having their browser locked adds enormous stress and anxiety to the exam.

With this software, students must ensure that they have a quiet, secluded workspace, which is not always possible. The software requires a good, stable wifi connection at all times of the exam, which often entails that no one else is using the network. Students must also ensure that their device is not only compatible with the software, but has a webcam and microphone. Furthermore, every student has different levels of test anxiety and corresponding techniques to help keep calm and focussed during an exam. For example, jotting notes on scrap paper, glancing away from the exam, or speaking out loud, all of which are not permitted in most lockdown exams.

LockDown Browser takes a huge toll on the hardware and performance of our devices as the software must be downloaded and all background programs must be force-quit. LockDown Browser has also been known to damage the personal computers of students if the program or computer crashes, this can result in costly repairs at the expense of the student. New methods for online exams and tests that do not require downloads and such invasive spyware should be used for efficiency of test-taking, and the privacy of students.