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Never copying again: this is how anti-cheating software works

Our government is running away with it: anti-cheating software. In these times of home education, it is software that ensures that students are checked for possible cheating with other students. Of course, copying someone else’s work is not allowed, but to what extent is it actually allowed to invade the student’s privacy? Here’s how anti-cheating software works and what’s so controversial about it.

Take an online exam
In principle, students have to come to the educational institution for exams, but if you are in quarantine, are a top athlete or have a functional limitation, you can get an exemption for this. Not for the exam, but for the obligation to do it physically at school. Proctoring software is often used to check that you are not using all kinds of handy tools at home to take your exam.

This software can check everything while you are in the online school environment to take your test. Think of checking that you are not talking, checking what you do with your mouse and even finding out if you are looking away from the screen, in addition to the more obvious check on whether you are visiting other websites and what background noises are there. sound. After all, even if you don’t speak or look away, you can still have someone next to you who reads along and whispers the answers to you.

Anti-cheating software
Online surveillance software works quite simply: you can download it as a Google Chrome extension, among other things. Then, in addition to the above things, the software also checks, for example, your proof of identity. If you do something that is justifiable during the exam, the VU, for example, a well-known user of this type of software, will receive a message from the program. The VU itself does not watch live, but images are made that the human invigilators then have to view. This is to ensure that as a student you do not have the feeling that a person is watching you live.

That software is quite sensitive, which makes sense, because it needs to be able to detect whispers and roughly where you are with your face. For example, students are advised not to move too much and certainly not to consult their WhatsApp when a message comes in. But what if software intended to deter people from peeking at others turns out to be actually used by cybercriminals to peep with you? Anti-cheating program Proctorio recently made the news because it was able to watch tens of thousands of students watch the movements of their mouths, the sounds in the room and in any case the entire room.

Privacy issues
Somehow you could have waited for it, because this kind of software gets so much access: you have to turn on your microphone and camera and then you are watched for a long time. Those images are also stored for another six months. In short, those cyber criminals who could monitor students immediately received a lot of information about you. Something that youth organizations have already raised the alarm about. After all, you actually let students choose between their privacy or their study progress. Moreover, the algorithm in the software is also regularly wrong and then your exam will be declared invalid.

Reason for parliamentary questions. Colleges and universities in the Netherlands use plenty of anti-cheating software, but the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science believes it should be possible to check whether a student is not cheating. In answer to parliamentary questions about this, Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf stated: “Fighting fraud is not subject to the statutory right of consent of the employee participation bodies. There is no intention to change this in the law. This does not alter the fact that the use of anti-cheating software must be treated with care, with due regard for privacy regulations.”

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