FSU tries to stop cheating as tests go online. Students say solution invades privacy.

Students have a signed a petition calling on the school to stop using the software, claiming it violates “privacy rights."

Florida State University is encouraging faculty to use a proctoring software as exams are taking place online because of the coronavirus.

Students at Florida State University signed a petition calling on the school to “refrain from using” an online exam proctoring software called Honorlock. 

FSU recently encouraged faculty to use the in-browser software as a means for “assessing students remotely.” According to a news release from the school, the software records students during exams and flags the footage for review if cheating and academic misconduct are suspected. 

More than 4,700 students have signed the petition, which contends that Honorlock, and specifically the requirement to turn over web camera and microphone permissions to the company, is a “blatant violation” of privacy rights. Additionally, the petition claims Honorlock may collect facial data, driver’s licenses, and internet network information. 

[RELATED: UA students say finishing classes is ‘asking too much,’ demand passing grades]

The Honorlock privacy statement says it respects student privacy and that the company does not sell “or otherwise commercialize” student data. According to the company’s privacy policy, Honorlock collects personal information such as one’s address and date of birth, device information, IP addresses, and cookie data. 

The petition also argues that some students may not have access to a computer webcam or microphone to use the software to take the test. 

[RELATED: Florida spring break students test positive for coronavirus]

Ed Gonzalez, a student at FSU, told Campus Reform the petition is genuinely about privacy concerns and not an excuse for students to avoid taking exams. 

“Honestly with the Honorlock, many students are signing [the petition] because it is an invasion of privacy,” Gonzalez said. “Especially for those students who are at home working in the same areas as their parents, when those parents may be sharing private information over the phone, etc...that would be recorded by the [Honorlock] system.” 

Campus Reform reached out to FSU and Honorlock for comment but received no response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Facebook: @eduneret and Twitter: @eduneret