BIOMETRIC DATA MINING IN PUBLIC EDUCATION

GUEST POST: BIOMETRIC DATA MINING IN PUBLIC EDUCATION

July 3, 2020 By Joseph P. Farrell

(Note: We rarely get guest posts, but in this case, a public school teacher sent me an email regarding the gathering of biometric data during standardized testing. I asked this individual, M.E., to write a guest post for the subject, and the individual gracefully consented.):

In United States, a general education teacher or an intervention specialist is required to complete a requisite number of hours for “professional development” as per state mandated guidelines. This academic school year came to a precipitous end with the advent of the “COVID-19 Scamdemic” and so did any chance of “in house” in-service days. In-service days are when a district invites “specialists” from a myriad of fields ranging from psychology and technology to human services and non-profit organizations in order to, in this author’s humble opinion “indoctrinate” teacher’s with nonsensical, tangential and often superfluous “differentiated behavior strategies and techniques” or iniquitous “gender neutral” language programs in order to not marginalize “gender fluid” students. The amount of chicanery is often both mesmerizing and disconcerting however, with regards to “distance or virtual learning” we were asked to participate in a fifteen hour Google Inc. certification course that was proctored by a seemingly innocuous third party entity that calls itself ProctorU.

ProctorU is an online examination software that exults “ProctorU, established in 2008 in Hoover, Ala., was founded by Jarrod Morgan to proctor the online exams of Alabama-based Andrew Jackson University using basic webcams and screen-sharing technology. Andrew Jackson University, Troy University, California Southern University and Western Governors University were among the first institutions to employ the Hoover-based firm.”. ¹ ProctorU is used primarily in the United States by public K-12 schools and universities in order to "proctor" exams with no one present. In February 2019, ProctorU announced Google Inc. as a client ² and in June of 2019 announced that they had partnered with Google Inc. ³ During this author’s paid examination, ProctorU required that I concede them access to: my screen, my internet browsing history, my location, my biometric facial data via webcam, my keyboard strokes, and allow them to install scripts on my hard drive, all in the guise of "academic integrity" and to thwart “academic impropriety”. Furthermore, to corroborate what the artificial intelligence was observing through access to my web cam, it asks you to prove that you are “who the artificial intelligence is observing” by providing a state license or other government employee identification in order to corroborate accurate biometrical details. You cannot block access of your address, date of birth, license plate number or it will not validate that identification. It must be your entire driver’s license front. You can find ProctorU’s privacy policy for California and the “rest of the world” in the references section of this article. Needless to say, I as a “privacy advocate” and a person who does not participate in social media and use my “smart/slave phone” tepidly (and with a VPN) find this invasive, disconcerting, and unethical for a plethora of reasons, the primary being: NO government, employer or nebulous third party entity should have access to my biological features PERIOD. The fourth amendment of the United States Constitution (whether it has merit at present is questionable, but this author still believes in it’s validity) states no improper illegal searches and seizures, and that would include the property that is your unique biological and physiological make up. Corporations understand this and the ONLY way they can retrieve that is through you agreeing to the “terms of services”, translation - your CONSENT in return for using their services, coerced or for personal pleasure is immaterial, they must have your consent in order for them to retrieve your personal and private data as they would need a warrant to acquire it otherwise.

One thing to note is that the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), filed a complaint with their institutions administration that delineated use of ProctorU cease and as well as use of “any other private service that either sells or makes students’ data available to third parties.”⁴ ProctorU, countered this with hiring lawyers that sent university lawyer’s a claimed was “an erratic letter invoking a litany of legal theories: defamation, copyright, trademark, and a hodgepodge of other claims that make appearances. The letter goes on to accuse the faculty association of undermining “emergency efforts to mitigate civil disruption” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.” ⁵ Further privacy breaches have been lobbied against ProctorU that should make a discerning person contemplate whether the Google Inc. partnership with the fledgling service is influencing academic institutions to use ProctorU or other similar artificial proctoring services like Pearson’s VUE. To note there are a plethora of other services students, parents, teachers and professors should be privy to (*Note: those companies can be found below in the “for further inquiry” section) and be ever vigilant and mindful that this IS where education is going and this convenient “scamdemic” is ushering in this new digital education era with efficacious expediency.

To conclude, in 1903, John D. Rockefeller created the General Education Board which facilitated compulsory schooling in the United States. Rockefeller has been quoted as stating, “I don't want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers”. If one thinks about the present climatological paradigm, and the proliferation of “smart technology”, ubiquitous data tracking via a “beta internet of things”, the hasty unveiling and installation of 5G technology, the avarice of the “elite” to digitize currency and the wanton to facilitate a “social credit system” much like China’s, an ideal place to begin inculcating minds is the education system. This is especially true of “young minds”. Common Core was the final bastardization of public education. Parents surrender their children over to teacher’s with good faith that their children are in the safety of professionals who will uphold ethical standards and educate their children so that they can participate in the greater society eventually. Unfortunately, far too many educator’s (in this author’s experience) are not apprised to the iniquity that has permeated all education, including “higher academia”, and that they are being used to spew “propaganda”, not critical inquiry or discernment. Further still, many educators are willfully ignorant to how digitized systems have been used as a weapon against humanity and blindly follow their marching orders given by administrations, politicians and corporations. No disclosure information is given to parents about their children being subjected to having their unique biometric information confiscated by technology companies and other government entities that is aggregated into a data base. In return, parents are ignorant to what their children are being exposed to and “taught”, including, some as young as three years of age, being enrolled in a Google classroom, with a Google email account attached to their student identification that will be with them throughout their entire academic career in the public school system (and might follow them into post-secondary and high education institutions). The possibilities for moral turpitude is limitless. We as educators, parents (or both) must ask ourselves: “Is this technology really beneficial for my students, my children, and myself? What is my school district doing with my children’s or student’s data? Am I okay with any entity owning my child’s physiological and biological information in the guise of “academic and technological differentiation?” It is our responsibility to protect young people from being harmed by predatory and parasitical entities, if we fail to do so, they will live in a dystopian world far beyond any thing that synergistic coalescence of Huxley and Orwell could envision.

Sources

1.) ProctorU. “ProctorU Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary.” ProctorU, 23 Oct. 2018, www.proctoru.com/industry-news-and-notes/proctoru-celebrates-10th-anniversary.

2.) Thornton, William. “ProctorU Partners with Google on Certification Program.” Al, 1 Feb. 2019, www.al.com/business/2019/02/proctoru-partners-with-google-on-certification-program.html.

3.) Patchen, Tyler. “ProctorU Expands Online Proctoring Partnership with Google .” Bizjournals.com, 25 June 2019, www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/news/2019/06/25/proctoru-expands-online-proctoring-partnership.html.

4.) Steinbaugh, Adam. “ProctorU Threatens UC Santa Barbara Faculty over Criticism during Coronavirus Crisis.” FIRE, 27 Mar. 2020, www.thefire.org/proctoru-threatens-uc-santa-barbara-faculty-over-criticism-during-coronavirus-crisis/.

5.) Steinbaugh, Adam. “ProctorU Threatens UC Santa Barbara Faculty over Criticism during Coronavirus Crisis.” FIRE, 27 Mar. 2020, www.thefire.org/proctoru-threatens-uc-santa-barbara-faculty-over-criticism-during-coronavirus-crisis/.

Links for Further Inquiry

Artificial Intelligence Proctoring Companies including ProctorU:

Software #1: Mercer | Mettl

Software #2: ProctorU

Software #3: Examity

Software #4: Verificient

Software #5: AIProctor

Software #6: ExamSoft

Software #7: Proview

Software #8: Conduct Exam

Software #9: ProctorExam

Software #10: PSI Bridge

Software #11: Pearson VUE

Software #12: MeritTrac

Software #13: Honorlock

I implore anyone, not just parents and teachers to not forget our young people.

Proctor U Privacy policy for California:  https://www.proctoru.com/ca-privacy-policy

Proctor U Privacy policy rest of the world: https://www.proctoru.com/privacy-policy

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