Remote monitoring exam issues
Higher education institutions are obliged to organise distance examinations to prevent possible contamination. Some institutions wish to monitor students during the exams by remote surveillance means. Is this mechanism legal ?
According to the Commission national of informatic and liberty (CNIL), higher education institutions must comply with the general regulation on data protection in the remote test monitoring mechanism (RGPD).
The legality of strictly supervised remote surveillance
Universities should determine on which legal provisions they rely to set up such telemonitoring. According to the CNIL, the appropriate legal basis is that of the execution of a public service mission devolved to universities.
Universities must respect the principles of finality, proportionality and relevance stemming from the Data Protection Act of January.6.1978. Of these principles, real-time video surveillance during the examination, the taking of photographs or video streaming, random, punctual sound recording, are deemed proportionate by the CNIL.
Proportionality in the intrusion of privacy during surveillance
Telemonitoring is a blatant interference in the private and family life of students. Consequently, remote monitoring of the student’s computer by surveillance devices based on biometric processing is considered disproportionate in most cases.
In order to respect students’ rights, clear information, the use of fraud detection algorithms cannot be the subject of an automated decision of students’ personal computers.
In the case of surveillance using artificial intelligence, a retention period for the data collected should be of strict transparency, and any constraint on the use of this information by a third party for other purposes should be avoided.
The privacy dichotomy and the fight against cheating
The implementation of a monitoring system for examinations organised at a distance constitutes processing of personal data. Whatever the technology used, it must be carried out to the limit of the violation of privacy on the one hand.
On the other hand, it would be possible to rethink other forms of examination not subject to surveillance which offer guarantees of rigour. In the strict respect of the barrier gestures linked to the pandemic, it is possible to offer face-to-face examination rooms because of the logistical constraints of the tests for less well-off students.