Proctoring software companies accused of providing invasive, discriminatory software

Occurred: March 2020

Five companies providing online test proctoring software and services have been accused of 'unfair and deceptive' business practices

A complaint by US non-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) with the District of Columbia Attorney General accused Respondus, ProctorU, Proctorio, Examity, and Honorlock of developing invasive software, discriminatiing against ‘non-typical’ students, and of the deceptive use of facial recognition. It cited a 'reliance on opaque, unproven AI analysis to flag purported instances of cheating.'


The use of proctoring software using keystroke patterns, facial recognition, gaze-monitoring and recordings of students’ surroundings to monitor students and flag suspected cheating in home tests was accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. These techniques raised concerns over mass biometric surveillance, biased outcomes and algorithmic transparency.


EPIC’s complaint set a precedent in challenging black-box algorithms in education. Since the complaint was filed in 2020, the Federal Trade Commission warned software companies against surveillance of students, and a federal legal ruling outlawed practices such as scanning students’ rooms.

System 🤖

Developer: Respondus, ProctorU, Proctorio, Examity, Honorlock
Country: USA
Sector: Education
Purpose: Proctoring
Technology: Facial analysis; Facial recognition; Gaze recognition; Location recognition; Prediction algorithm
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination; Privacy; Surveillance
Transparency: Black box; Complaints/appeals

Legal, regulatory 👩🏼‍⚖️