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Remote Testing ‘Room Scans’ Violate Fourth Amendment, Judge Says

Aug. 23, 2022, 6:37 PM

E-proctoring “room scans” are an unconstitutional search under the Fourth Amendment, according to a federal judge in Ohio ruling in favor the Cleveland State University student who brought the privacy suit.

Aaron Ogletree claimed that the school’s proctoring softwares, Respondus and Honorlock, required webcam room scans in order to take exams from home. The scans often forced students to film their laps and other parts of their bodies, in addition to their bedrooms, to look for impermissible study aids or notes, Ogletree said.

Judge Philip Calabrese of the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio agreed with Ogletree that the remote scans are Fourth Amendment searches in violation of the US Constitution. Students have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their houses, and especially in their bedrooms, Calabrese said.

Even though there isn’t evidence that Ogletree ever objected to the scans, other students may object to the virtual intrusion of their homes, the judge said.

“Rooms scans go where people otherwise would not, at least not without a warrant or an invitation,” Calabrese said in his Monday opinion, noting that Ogletree’s privacy interest in his home outweighs Cleveland State’s interests in scanning his room.

Students can cheat regardless of the room scans, so they aren’t necessary to preserve the integrity of the university’s tests, the judge said.

Ogletree is represented by Bolek Besser Glesius LLC.

The case is Ogletree v. Cleveland State Univ., N.D. Ohio, No. 1:21-cv-00500, 8/22/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Samantha Hawkins at shawkins1@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com