An Exam Surveillance Company Is Trying to Silence Critics With Lawsuits

Todd Feathers:

Linkletter, who has been working in the field of educational technology for 13 years, generally considers himself a proponent of software designed to improve the school experience. But what he found while researching Proctorio concerned him, along with many other educators and college students who are rebelling against Proctorio and similar algorithmic proctoring software. They argue that the tools are an unacceptable invasion of privacy and are destined to cause institutional discrimination against students who are marginalized, low-income, neurodiverse, or don’t otherwise fit the software developers’ definition of normal.

Over several days in August, Linkletter became a vociferous critic of Proctorio, tweeting out his thoughts alongside Proctorio’s training videos for instructors, which detailed how the software’s algorithms flag students for “abnormal” behavior during exams. Within a matter of hours of his tweets, the videos disappeared from YouTube—the first sign that Proctorio was paying attention to him.

Then, in early September, Linkletter got a call from a reporter at the Vancouver Sun. Proctorio was suing him for copyright infringement over the tweets. Without Linkletter knowing the case had been initiated, the Supreme Court of British Columbia had granted the company’s request for an injunction barring Linkletter from sharing what Proctorio described as confidential information about its software.