Aaron Ogletree, a Cleveland State University student, sued the school after he was asked to show a virtual proctor his bedroom before an online test, noting the scan violated his Fourth Amendment rights against “unreasonable searches and seizures,” according to NPR. The school argued that room scans weren’t searches and were conducted to ensure academic fairness.
U.S. district court Judge J. Philip Calabrese decided in Ogletree’s favor, noting “Mr. Ogletree's privacy interest in his home outweighs Cleveland State's interests in scanning his room.”
"Rooms scans go where people otherwise would not, at least not without a warrant or an invitation. Nor does it follow that room scans are not searches because the technology is 'in general public use,'" said Calabrese.
Civil rights attorney Matthew Besser, who represented Ogletree, said the case appears to be the first in the U.S. to hold that the Fourth Amendment protects students from “unreasonable video searches of their homes before taking a remote test.”
Digital privacy advocates have raised red flags over online proctoring services’ alleged civil liberty violations in recent years. That’s why Fight for the Future, a nonprofit that created the website BanEproteoring.com, called the decision a “major victory.”
Cleveland State will meet with Besser to determine the next step in the case.