Intrusive impacts of remote proctoring by universities in Germany
Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (GFF)
Privacy and Data Protection
As exams were shifted online during the COVID-19 pandemic, some German universities began to use proctoring software to monitor students taking their exams. This software may violate fundamental rights by processing a large amount of personal data, including identity, location, videos of movements, and the student’s room. During the pandemic, due to social distancing and other restrictions, there were limited, if any, in-person alternatives for taking exams. This meant students did not have a real and meaningful choice to opt out of monitoring.
GFF are taking litigation in Germany against one or more universities using this proctoring software for online exams. The aim is obtaining a ruling that processing personal data through automated online proctoring software is unlawful.
An initial application for a temporary injunction against video recording at the University of Hagen was rejected by the administrative court. However, the court did not examine the legal situation in detail, but merely decided the harms to the plaintiff were not sufficient to merit a temporary stop to the use of the software. Further lawsuits are ongoing, where the merits of the case will be assessed by the courts.
"This software may violate fundamental rights by processing a large amount of personal data, including identity, location, videos of movements, and the student’s room."
To stop German universities from using automated online proctoring software, instead adopting less intrusive, privacy-friendly alternatives, such as open-book exams.