Cancelling the use of Proctortrack at Lakehead University

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Currently, Lakehead university is performing a series of “tests” to implement a new online proctoring software (Proctortrack) to monitor the academic integrity of students during exams. As an engineering student I can appreciate how important it is to maintain honesty during test taking but the approach which Lakehead University has chosen is absolutely unacceptable.

We came to this conclusion after careful examination of the terms of service, privacy policy, and data collection/storage practices of Verificient.

It is stated within the ‘Privacy Policy’ under ‘Data Retention and Deletion’ that:

“Data collected from proctored activities (including biometric data) are held for up to 180 days (as configured by the applicable Test Sponsor(s)) after a proctored test session. Your identity profile and data collected for identification verification purposes (including the biometric data we use to create your identify profile) is retained for up to two years from the time the identity profile is created in our Platform (as configured by the applicable Test Sponsor(s))”

My second concern is the extent of the information that they are asking for. They are requiring more information than that of a Police background check or even that of a Police Arrest during the booking process. “

Below is only some of the information that is requested from Verificient (as their website clearly states that their data collection is not necessarily limited to the contents of this list)
• Name
• Address
• Photograph of identity document, such as a driver’s license
• Photograph of you
• Telephone Number
• Username and Password
• Name of the Test Sponsor(s) (i.e., the educational institution(s)) at which you are enrolled and course test information
• Employment information
• E-mail address
• Test submissions
• Screen-captures
• Process logs
• Connected Devices
• 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)

( “Information We Collect” )
( “Information We Collect” )

Lastly, the terms and conditions of this software provides no promise of protection and puts all liability on you, the user. Below is a short quote from their terms of service (I encourage all of you to take a full look at it and see for yourself how ridiculous it is).

( “6. Limitation of Liability” )

“In no event shall Verificient Technologies, Inc. and/or its officers, directors, employees, or agents, be liable to you for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, punitive, exemplary, or consequential damages whatsoever.”

Privacy is important. Data is worth something and it can be sold to anyone if this information was breached. Verificient has a lengthy holding process of our information which is much like gambling against any intrusions. Risk is also present in the event of a company merger, sale or bankruptcy; in which case all our sensitive data will belong to the company which has acquired assets from Verificient; and who is to say what will happen with our data then?

One of the more famous privacy breaches was the Equifax breach. Every single working Canadian has a credit score and a credit rating. Now, if they can get breached then why can’t Verificient?

Attempts to contact university administration have resulted in automated replies that completely ignore the concerns addressed in this petition and have stated this software as “student-friendly”. Why this software requires such an absurd amount of data is still an unanswered question. This software also has unforeseen technical requirements that must be met (which was not declared in the beginning of this semester). Students must now order hardware that is specifically to used for this software and not required for online courses.

We recognize that the outcome of this “test” to use Proctortrack will lead to the eventual adoption of a very intrusive and insecure data collection service in an attempt to thwart a minor group of the student population that so happens to be dishonest. I also recognize that as a business Lakehead University will NOT be at all responsible for ANY of the damages that could be incurred due to this policy; forcing students into an awful position.

We would like each of you to ask yourselves; are you comfortable with uploading some of your most sensitive data and willing to trust that data with a company that takes ZERO responsibility for the protection of your data? Furthermore, are you okay with the fact that Lakehead university has taken ZERO responsibility for the protection of your data either? Is it even ethical to force students into such a position? If you find any of these practices unacceptable, please sign and share this petition. Alone we are weak, but together we can make a difference.
We all have rights to privacy and it should not be held ransom if we wish to continue our studies.