EPIC Files D.C. Consumer Protection Complaint Against Online Test Proctoring Firms
December 9, 2020
EPIC has filed a complaint with the D.C. Attorney General alleging that five providers of online test proctoring tools have routinely violated students' privacy and engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices. EPIC's complaint charges that Respondus, ProctorU, Proctorio, Examity, and Honorlock have collected excessive personal data from proctored students, have relied on opaque and unreliable AI tools to flag alleged signs of cheating, and have made deceptive statements about their products. "The rapid growth of online test proctoring has all but forced many students to trade away their privacy rights in order to meet their academic obligations," EPIC explained. "These systems routinely collect sensitive data from students that is not necessary to administer an exam and subject test-takers to secret, unproven algorithms that can effectively accuse them of cheating with no legitimate basis." EPIC's complaint calls on the D.C. Attorney General to halt the companies' unfair trade practices and impose transparency, data minimization, and algorithmic fairness requirements. EPIC also warned each company that it is prepared to file suit under D.C.'s consumer protection law if they fail to correct their unlawful privacy practices. EPIC has long advocated for greater accountability in the use of automated decision-making systems, including the adoption of the Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence and requirements for algorithmic transparency. EPIC has also highlighted the privacy risks posed by the adoption of online tools in the COVID-19 era and has previously used D.C.'s consumer protection law to force changes to Accuweather's collection of personal data.