Examity, an Online Exam Software Company, Sued for Disappointing Facial Data Protection
Proctoring Websites have become the latest Illinois institutions to come under fire for violating the state’s biometrics privacy law.
A new class action accuses a software company of improperly capturing and storing students’ biometric data through facial recognition and other tools used in its online testing and instruction programs.
Online Exam Software, Examity
In 2013, Examity came into the market for online proctoring. At the time, there were several providers in the space, but each focused on a single service, such as auto proctoring.
Examity, a software that uses biometrics to create identity profiles for students, has grown in popularity as schools have shifted to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have, however, run afoul of serious privacy allegations in the process.
On April 16, 2021, plaintiff Paul Clarke filed a class action lawsuit against Examity in a federal court in Illinois, alleging that the company had breached the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).
Clarke used Examity to take online exams while enrolled at Western Governors University, the class action alleges.
Clarke’s facial geometry, including his eye movements and facial expressions, was collected by Examity to verify his identity when he logged in to take the exam.
The Class Action Lawsuit
Clarke was not informed of the period for which Examity intended to collect, store, and use his biometrics, as required by BIPA. Furthermore, he alleges, it did not provide him with a retention schedule or guidelines for permanently destroying his biometrics.
According to the class action, Examity retains Clarke’s biometric data beyond the purpose for which it was collected. The filing alleged that the company failed to implement statutorily mandated data retention and destruction policies.
The plaintiff contended that based on Examity’s silence on the subject, he could only conclude that the company has not and will not destroy his biometric data once the primary purpose for collecting or obtaining the data has been met.
Clarke stated that he filed the claim to prevent Examity from violating the privacy rights of Illinois residents, and to recover damages for the company’s alleged improper and inadequate collection, storage, and protection of these individuals’ biometric information in violation of BIPA.
The plaintiff seeks to certify a class of Illinois residents who have used Examity to take an exam online and had their facial geometry collected at any time since March 2020.
He is seeking class certification, damages, interest, restitution, attorney’s fees, and costs, as well as a jury trial.
Students taking the Bar Exam for law were allegedly forced to urinate in front of the camera because failing to maintain eye contact would result in their exams being terminated, according to the class action. Others have been captured on the software, sobbing inconsolably.
Three students sued another online proctoring service, UProctor, last month for alleged BIPA violations in the aftermath of the company’s data breach.
Students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are represented by the same attorneys as the Western Governors University student who brought this case.
Editor’s Note on Examity BIPA Class Action Lawsuit 2021:
This article is published to inform you of the latest class action lawsuit filed against Examity and their company’s breach of online data protection.
Case Name & No.: Paul Clarke et al., v. Examity, INC., Case No. 1:21-cv-02081, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Products/Services: Examity, Online Proctoring Platform
Allegations: Examity allegedly violated Illinois biometrics privacy law
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