Honorlock Security and Privacy FAQ

FSU has a formal agreement to provide online proctoring services through Honorlock. The agreement supersedes Honorlock’s general Terms of Services and includes specific legal requirements for the privacy and security of student information including:

  • A formal data sharing agreement for student information with specific privacy and security restrictions under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Florida Information Protection Act (FIPA);
  • FERPA binds Honorlock to only collect, process, and store student data for contracted services and this information cannot be sold or transferred for any other purpose; Restricting access to our student data to only those within Honorlock with an authorized reason to process or view this data;
  • Restricting storage of our student data to only data centers located in the United States and requiring encryption in the transmission of any protected university data;
  • The use of appropriate administrative, technical, and physical security measures to preserve the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected student data;
  • Data minimization procedures to delete collected information when no longer necessary or upon termination of the agreement;
  • Procedures to alert the university upon the confirmation of a data breach of the Honorlock system.

Honorlock is a cloud-based proctoring solution, which has successfully completed the Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Type 1 audit, US Privacy Shield compliance, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) readiness. The audit affirms that Honorlock’s information security practices, policies, procedures, and operations meet the SOC 2 standards for security, availability, and confidentiality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why and when is online proctoring necessary?

Proctored testing enables the university to ensure the academic integrity of assessments and to comply with federal regulations that require universities offering online and distance education to verify student identity. Traditional face-to-face classes that aren't conducive to testing in the classroom typically rely on testing facilities for live, in-person proctoring of exams.

During the social distancing of COVID-19 and the closure of testing facilities throughout the world, online proctoring offers an alternative to in-person proctored testing. This is a common practice of online and distance learning courses and is used by universities throughout our state university system and the nation. Though instructors may use a variety of alternate assessment strategies, they may also rely on online proctoring to ensure the security of tests offered to online students in different locations. Online proctoring helps prevent academic honor violations such as:

  • Use of a false identity,
  • Unauthorized collaboration,
  • Use of unauthorized materials, and
  • Copying or distributing test items to others.

Are instructors required to use Honorlock?

No. Your instructor may use a variety of assessment strategies that don't include online proctoring. When the nature of the course or instruction makes online proctoring a necessity, however, your instructor may choose Honorlock to ensure the academic integrity of your test.


What do I do if I don't have the resources needed to participate in online proctored testing?

Being displaced during the COVID-19 social distancing period may put you in a situation where online proctored testing is difficult or impossible. Depending on your living situation, you may not have access to reliable internet, computer hardware, or a private space where you can test uninterrupted. Communicate any limitations or obstacles you have with online proctored testing to your instructors so they can work with you. Students experiencing a financial hardship related to acquiring the appropriate technology should contact Case Management Services.


Is it true that my student information could be sold to third parties if I participate in an online proctored test?

No. The university's agreement with Honorlock for online test proctoring does not allow Honorlock to sell student information to third parties. As mentioned above, our contract with Honorlock has specific legal requirements for the protection of student information that supersede Honorlock's standard Terms of Service and bind Honorlock to all of the protections supplied by FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).


Is it true that Honorlock scans home networks and monitors data from any device connected to that network?

No. Honorlock does not scan home networks or monitor data from any device on the network other than the one used for testing. Secondary devices, such as phones, can be detected, but this is not accomplished by network snooping. See the questions below for more detailed information on how Honorlock tracks and monitors data and devices.


Where does Honorlock store student data?

Honorlock uses an encrypted and secured connection during the exam. All videos and photos are stored in Honorlock’s platform. Their system runs in a secure, private cloud within Amazon’s AWS cloud platform in US data centers.


How long is student data stored?

Honorlock has defined data retention periods of 12 months, after which all student-related data is automatically purged, unless the university requests an extension of a particular student’s data related to an academic integrity case. Upon request from the university, Honorlock can extend the data retention of a student’s data up to an additional 12 months.


How is student data secured and protected?

All data, including photos and video, is stored in an encrypted format on isolated storage systems within Honorlock’s private cloud in Amazon’s AWS US data centers. They are SOC 2 Type 1, US Privacy Shield and GDPR compliant.


Who has access to student data?

Only key staff within Honorlock will have access in order to provide quality control and support for FSU instructors and Testing Center proctors. Those accessing student data are bound to the FERPA and privacy requirements required by the FSU/Honorlock master service agreement.


Who monitors the test, Artificial Intelligence (AI) or live proctors? Who reviews the flags?

The AI automatically generates a flag if unusual activity is detected, such as another person entering the room, and can alert standby proctors to "pop in" and briefly monitor the session to correct problems. There is no live person watching the student during the entirety of the exam. Once an exam session is completed, instructors (or FSU Testing Center proctoring staff) are able to review flagged recordings to determine if a cheating incident may have occurred.


What data is tracked/recorded from the web browser extension and how is it handled?

The Chrome Web browser extension allows Honorlock to interact with the student and the exam content during the exam. This includes launching the webcam window and interacting with student behavior within the exam. During the exam, the following data is captured, analyzed, and stored:

  • Webcam video, including audio;
  • Recording of desktop activity;
  • Student information presented by the learning management system (Canvas), such as student name, course number, exam name, etc.;
  • Pages visited during the examination session;
  • Specific student behavior that may indicate academic dishonesty, such as copy/paste into search engines.

Webcam and audio analysis has certain AI capabilities built in, such as detecting the presence of zero, one, or more faces in the camera, one or more voices, etc. This AI will generate a “flag,” prompting the instructor (or FSU Testing Center proctor) to review the exam session to determine if additional action is necessary to remediate any academic integrity issues.


Does the Honorlock browser application have the ability to detect and monitor other computing devices connected to the local/home network used during a student’s proctoring session?

Honorlock does not employ any technologies to allow detection of secondary devices connected to a student’s local/home network used during the proctoring session. No agents or applications are downloaded to these secondary devices to initiate any type of surveillance activities. Other users connected to the local/home network during a student’s Honorlock session can process personal or confidential information concurrently without fear of the student’s Honorlock session monitoring or eavesdropping on secondary device activities. In addition, the application does not have the capability of intercepting local/home network communications from devices connected during the student’s session.


Does Honorlock have the capability to monitor the use of my smartphone during an examination session?

Students using their smartphones to search online resources for test questions should note Honorlock utilizes a manual technology to detect academic integrity issues. Specifically, Honorlock hosts websites with seeded test questions that, when accessed druing an examination session, sets off an action on the phone. This action is picked up during the student’s session and alerts instructors and FSU proctors to review for academic integrity issues. Honorlock does not initiate any technologies to eavesdrop on the student’s smartphone activity either during or after an examination session. It is important for students to understand they are not authorized to use their phones during an Honorlock proctored examination.


Who determines if cheating took place during an online proctored test?

Instructors make the final assessment about whether suspected cheating has taken place during an exam session. Only students engaging in unusual activity during an exam are flagged and reviewed. If an instructor reviews the video and determines that the student did not violate FSU’s academic honor policy, no action is taken. However, if an instructor determines that the student violated the academic honor policy, that instructor will follow the appropriate channels for academic honor policy violations. Students who feel wrongly accused of a violation have a channel for resolving alleged violations in the Academic Integrity and Grievance process.


Can I uninstall the Honorlock extension in my browser after my exam is over?

Yes. You are welcome to uninstall the Honorlock Chrome extension after your test is complete if you're not completely comfortable keeping it on your computer.

 

See Honorlock’s Student Privacy Statement for additional information on Honorlock’s privacy policies.

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