The University has a legitimate need to collect your personal information in order to provide educational programs and associated services. The University also has a legal and ethical duty to protect your personal information from unauthorized use and disclosure. At the same time, you, as a learner, have legitimate rights to protect your personal information.
The University is not allowed to disclose your information to third parties except under specific circumstances, as outlined in the PIPA and TWU Policy. This means that the University is not allowed to disclose your academic information (grades, enrolment status, transcripts) to anyone but you. This includes your parents or guardians.
- assess academic performance of students and other matters relevant to a student’s enrolment at TWU or participating in the TWU community.
- TWU will, when required by this policy or PIPA, obtain constituent consent to collect, use or disclose any personal information. TWU will make reasonable efforts to ensure that constituents understand how their personal information will be used and disclosed.
- If an outside body is employed to conduct research on behalf of TWU, or provide other services that require access to constituent information, TWU will ensure that reasonable security measures, such as confidentiality clauses in contractual arrangements, are employed to protect the transfer and use of personal information.
Furthermore, the standard indicated in the PIPA legislation states that
- In meeting its responsibilities under this Act, an organization must consider what a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances[emphasis added].
Academic Surveillance Software
There are many companies claiming to provide plagiarism detection (like TurnItIn) or online exam proctoring(like Proctorio, ProctorU, Examity) tools for universities. It is important for learners to understand that educational technology professionals generally consider these tools to not be reasonable or ethical with respect to the disclosure of learners' personal information.
TurnItIn is often used to check learners' work for instances of plagiarism, however, TurnItIn itself states explicitly that it does not detect plagiarism.
Furthermore, TurnItIn is notoriously inaccurate in even detecting similarities between student papers and material that has been directly copied and pasted from open websites on the internet. Researchers who test the efficacy of 'plagiarism detection' software have found repeatedly that TurnItIn is, at best, partially useful.
Foltýnek, T., Dlabolová, D., Anohina-Naumeca, A. et al. Testing of support tools for plagiarism detection. Int J Educ Technol High Educ 17, 46 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-020-00192-4
Besides the evidence that TurnItIn both misses obviously copied materials AND flags original content as possibly plagiarized, their business model is fundamentally incompatible with learners maintaining control over their academic work. The way TurnItIn works is that when you upload a copy of your paper to their servers, TurnItIn keeps a copy of that paper, which they then add to their database of over 1 billion learner papers. In turn, they sell access to your paper to other institutions for their own profit.
Furthermore, there are hundreds of 'paper mills' in the Lower Mainland which offer learners custom-created, original papers (often written by under-paid adjunct professors) which can then be submitted by the learner. These paper mills have begun advertising that their papers are guaranteed to pass TurnItIn's filters, and they often come with a TurnItIn originality report as well. This means that the paper mill has submitted the paper to TurnItin already and they know that it will show a low score. The thing is, the paper mill has to pay to do this, and the paper is not stored in the database, so TurnItIn is taking money from paper mills AND from universities so that universities can think that papers haven't been created by a paper mill.
This practice is incompatible with academic integrity in any reasonable context.
The privacy violations associated with online proctoring services are even more unreasonable compared to plagiarism detection. Even though TWU does not subscribe to any of these services, TWU learners may still be asked to submit to the invasive and harmful requirements of exam proctoring through publisher-created and hosted exams, such as Pearson MyLab or McGraw-Hill Connect. Many of these tools require examinees to provide a picture or scan of their official ID that is then compared to the video feed, they are required to install a browser extension that allows the proctoring company extraordinary control over the examinee's computer.