EFF sues Proctorio on behalf of student falsely DMCA’d

Phoenix, Arizona—The Electronic Frontier Basis (EFF) filed a lawsuit at the moment time towards Proctorio Inc. on behalf of faculty pupil Erik Johnson, seeking a judgment that he didn’t infringe the firm’s copyrights when he linked to excerpts of its tool code in tweets criticizing the tool maker.

Proctorio, a developer of examination administration and surveillance tool, misused the copyright takedown provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to bear Twitter bear away posts by Johnson, a Miami University pc engineering undergraduate and safety researcher. EFF and co-counsel Osborn Maledon mentioned in a grievance filed at the moment time in U.S. District Court docket, District of Arizona, that Johnson made stunning exercise of excerpts of Proctorio’s tool code, and the firm’s false claims of infringement interfered with Johnson’s First Modification upright to criticize the firm.

“Software program companies don’t procure to abuse copyright legislation to undermine their critics,” mentioned EFF Crew Felony expert Cara Gagliano. “The exercise of devices of code to level your review or strengthen severe commentary will not be any different from quoting a e book in a e book review.”

Proctoring apps love Proctorio’s are privateness-invasive tool that “watches” students thru witness-tracking and face detection for supposed signs of dishonest as they bear tests or total schoolwork. The usage of these “disciplinary abilities” applications has skyrocketed amid the pandemic, elevating questions referring to the extent to which they threaten pupil privateness and anguish students without procure entry to to excessive-tempo web and quiet spaces.

Proctorio has answered to public criticism by attacking other folks that communicate out. The firm’s CEO launched on Reddit contents of a pupil’s chat log captured by Proctorio after the pupil posted complaints referring to the tool on the social community. The firm has also sued a a ways flung studying specialist in Canada for posting hyperlinks to Proctorio’s publicly readily available YouTube videos in a assortment of tweets showing the tool tracks “peculiar” witness and head movements it deems suspicious.

Bright with how significant inner most data Proctorio collects from students’ pc techniques, Johnson, whose instructors bear given tests the exercise of Proctorio, examined the firm’s tool, including the files which may perhaps perhaps perhaps be downloaded to any pc where the tool is place apart in.

He revealed a assortment of tweets in September critiquing Proctorio, linking in three of these tweets to short tool code excerpts that existing the extent of the tool’s tracking and procure entry to to customers’ pc techniques. In every other tweet, Johnson included a screenshot of a video illustrating how the tool is ready to assemble a 360-level image of scholars’ rooms that is accessible to lecturers and seemingly Proctorio’s brokers.

“Copyright holders must always be held liable after they falsely accuse their critics of copyright infringement, notably when the goal is evidently to intimidate and undermine them,” mentioned Gagliano. “We’re asking the court docket for a declaratory judgment that there will not be this kind of thing as a infringement to forestall additional honest true threats and takedown makes an strive towards Johnson for the exercise of code excerpts and screenshots to augment his comments.”

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