Florida State Will Use Exam Software that Records Students Via Webcam

facial recognition tech
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Florida State University announced last week that it will adopt an exam software that will record students at home through their webcams. Now, students are arguing that the software violates their privacy rights.

According to a report by Campus Reform, students at Florida State University are fighting back against the adoption of a new remote exam administration software that records students through their webcam.

In a recent press release, Florida State University encouraged faculty members to adopt Honorlock, an exam administration software that allows students to take their exams from home during the ongoing Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

The software, which was designed to ensure that students are not cheating during online exams, asks students to scan their entire room with their webcam before they can begin their exam. The software then records students during their exam and uploads it for review by administrators.

Now, students are circulating a petition to stop the university from adopting the exam software. The petition notes that the software requires students to provide their driver’s license and a facial scan.

FSU is encouraging professors to use Honorlock in order to proctor online tests. This programs requires a webcam and microphone (that you have to provide them access to) in order to function. It can also collect your face, drivers license, and network information. it might also ask you do a 360 degree scan of your room before a test.

The petition, which has been signed by almost 5,000 students at the time of this writing, argues that the software violates student privacy. Students are fearful that they will be obligated to use the software. The authors of the petition claim that the university has told students that if they refuse to use the exam software, they will receive a failing grade on their exams.

This is both a blatant violation of our privacy as students and infeasible for many. If a professor requires this program you’re forced to waive your privacy rights or get a 0% on an exam. additionally many students may not have access to a webcam or microphone on their computer and would be forced to try to buy one amidst a pandemic that has shuttered most stores. Please stand with us against this program that blatantly violates our rights and sign this petition!

The software has also been criticized because it tracks its users’ networking data. However, the company behind the software claims that all data collected by the software remains private and is not shared with or sold to third-parties.

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