Honorlock Privacy Invasion at Ocean County College

Honorlock Privacy Invasion at Ocean County College

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Scarlett Puleo started this petition to Ocean County College and

Ocean County College of NJ has recently required the use of Honorlock, an invasive google chrome proctoring extension, to prevent students from cheating on exams. Honorlock poses significant security and privacy risks for students which must be addressed. This third party proctoring service collects biometric data from students, requires broad permissions over devices connected to the students' entire network, and surveillances the students including their personal environments. It is clear that Honorlock violates the privacy of students, while adding unnecessary stress due to multiple in-test proctor interruptions.

Below we list the reasons why OCC should no longer require students to use Honorlock for exams and quizzes: 

  • Honorlock requires students to show and record a 360-degree video of the room in which their exam will take place. Honorlock then takes a picture of the students face for biometric analysis, then takes a photo of the students government or student photo ID.
  • Honorlock video records students throughout the entire exam. These video recordings of students, including their government ID's and/or student ID's are kept for a year, according to the Honorlock website. Colleges can choose to extend this retention period. 
  • Honorlock claims that during the exam, they can detect usage from a student’s devices (cell phones, iPads, etc). This indicates they have access to and are monitoring the internet activity of all devices connected to the student's network- including devices other than their own. 
  • Honorlock flags students when their face and/or eyes are not properly positioned in the webcam's view, prompting a proctor to the screen who then asks the student to reposition their face. This can happen several times during an exam, prompting several different proctors to the screen. The constant interruption by proctors is invasive and increases performance anxiety among students.
  • Honorlock collects a students IP address, email address, and cookie data. 
  • Honorlock requires a webcam and microphone. This places students with limited access to technology or a quiet testing location at a disadvantage. Without a webcam, students automatically fail their exams. Background noise can flag a student, prompting a proctor to the screen to inquire about it. 
  • Honorlock has a one-star rating on google chrome extensions, out of 1,795 reviews. The majority of reviews accuse the company of privacy abuse and poor or failed grades due to technical problems or performance anxiety. 

As we return to a new normal, many educational institutions are keeping virtual instruction courses optional. Why are model institutions in our tri-state area not requiring their students to use Honorlock? The administration at OCC must respect the privacy of its students and follow after model institutions who have not imposed such extraneous and invasive requirements for at-home exams. As a diverse body of students, we ask that other measures be examined to uphold the integrity of the college. Finally, we ask that you no longer require students to use Honorlock for the many reasons listed above. 

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