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Proctorio summons digital rights group in legal dispute with serious student

Proctorio summons digital rights group in legal dispute with serious student

Controversial proctoring platform Proctorio has filed a comprehensive subpoena against leading digital rights nonprofit Fight for the Future as part of its legal battle with University of Miami student Eric Johnson, the group known to have silenced critics through legal maneuvering. described as an attempt to

The fight between Johnson and the company began in September of 2020 when the student published a lengthy Twitter thread criticizing Proctorio's practices, including excerpts from the platform's source code, which he posted on Pastebin. Proctorio filed a copyright takedown notice. Three of these tweets were removed but later reinstated. The Electronic Frontier Foundation then sued Proctorio on Johnson's behalf, arguing that the takedown "interfered with Johnson's First Amendment rights."

Proctorio is one of the most prominent software platforms that schools use to spot cheating on remote tests. It records students via their webcams as they work, monitors the position of their heads, and flags potential signs of cheating professors.

The company has been embroiled in a number of public controversies since the explosion of remote learning in 2020. It is still embroiled in a legal dispute with a technology expert named Ian Linklater, who, like Johnson, made a series of tweets criticizing the platform in mid-2020, some of which included unlisted YouTube videos and links to Proctorio's website. There were screenshots. In that case, Proctorio claimed that the tweets involved the sharing of confidential information and copyright infringement. Linklater has filed a petition to have the suit dismissed, which the court has yet to decide.

Amid the EFF lawsuit filed in the District of Arizona, Proctorio is taking one of its critics so far. Fight for the Future has not only been publicly critical of Proctorio and other remote proctoring platforms on social media, but it also runs a website tracking the colleges that use them and urging students to take action in protest. encourage to.

The subpoena requests that the FFTF produce itself and the EFF, Eric Johnson and Ian Linklater, as well as any "documents and communications" relating to the proctoring software industry.

Fight for the Future has filed a motion to cancel the summons. Its memorandum argues that "the FFTF is not a party to the Arizona litigation and, in fact, has no meaningful connection to the claims made by Johnson and Proctorio." It condemns the summons as "an attempt to intimidate and gain access to the strategies of digital and human rights advocates exposing the harms of Proctorio's business practices."

"This summons is the equivalent of a fishing expedition. It is clearly a form of harassment intended to silence critics of Proctorio and its CEO," the FFTF wrote in a statement. The group said that "Proctorio's efforts to bully us through its legal team will not change our principled view that surveillance-based eProctoring is inherently harmful."

This is not the first time Proctorio's aggressive legal strategies have been challenged. A British Columbia court recently barred the company from cross-examining Linklater about its personal communications related to its platform. Critics of Proctorio have hailed that decision as a victory, and Linklater continues to independently criticize Proctorio's software on Twitter.

Proctorio has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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