UBC academic, students accuse Proctorio of privacy abuse

Occurred: 2020-23

Can you improve this page?
Share your insights with us

Proctorio was accused by University of British Colombia (UBC) students, staff, and faculty of providing an 'unethical, invasive' online exam invigilation system, and for causing anxiety and other mental harms, and negatively impacting students’ academic performance.

The complaints were initially triggered by a UBC student claiming that Proctorio had failed to provide support when encountering an issue the system, to which Proctorio CEO Mike Olsen posted excerpts of a support chat log to Twitter, resulting in allegations of privacy abuse. Olsen later apologised for his actions. 

Subsequently, UBC employee Ian Linkletter criticised the software on Twitter, linking to unlisted videos on the company's YouTube Channel showing how its technology worked and accusing the company of jeopardising privacy, increasing student anxiety, discriminating against students of colour and others, and inadequate transparency. 

Despite swiftly removing the videos, Proctorio sued Linkletter for infringing its copyright and distributing confidential material, triggering accusations that it was acting disproportionately, and inappropriately limiting academic freedoms. 

In May 2023, the British Colombia Court of Appeal ruled in Proctorio's favour on confidentiality and copyright grounds, despite a court earlier ruling for Linkletter on freedom of expression grounds.


Operator: University of British Columbia
Developer: Proctorio
Country: Canada
Sector: Education
Purpose: Detect exam cheating
Technology: Facial detection; Gaze detection; Machine learning
Issue: Bias/discrimination - race; Confidentiality; Privacy; Freedom of expression; Freedom of information
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Complaints/appeals; Marketing; Legal