Data Privacy and University Students

Generally, an individual attains privacy by evading communication and interaction with other people. However, according to Irwin Altman, privacy can be viewed as a form of dynamic and dialectic interaction with others. Privacy as a dynamic and dialectic interaction is described when an individual can control and modify their information sharing and association with the public. Depending on the time and situation, individuals can make themselves open accordingly [1].

The privacy concern of students from University of Regina can be understood by analyzing the situation through the identity boundary privacy management of self and other. In the CBC article, Gregory states, “Before the pandemic, students had to present their ID cards and were monitored by the staff. Proctortrack does the same thing” [2]. However, the given situation of monitoring students with Proctortrack fails to take into account of controlling who are permitted to view the footage. The lack of consent and control of who can access the video depicts invasion of personal privacy for the students from University of Regina. Surveillance is used in order for students to convey their honesty when writing an exam but when recordings of the students are stored and used for unintended purposes, such as collecting details of the room and background sounds causes information to persist and be misused.

The principle of protecting privacy of individuals against intrusive government agents states that in order to protect individuals against unacceptable government domination, rules and guidelines must be established [3]. Ideas and practices of how an exam can be conducted must be discussed with the students in University of Regina and the students’ acceptance and consent is required to pursue the monitoring of students via a recording. This would ensure set and fixed limits on the governments or the university’s intrusiveness.

Taking the principle of restricting access to intimate, sensitive, or confidential information into consideration tells us that the type of information collected during the proctoring of the exam must be restricted in order to protect the students’ privacy. The principle states that the degree of sensitivity of information is the primary factor in identifying a privacy violation [3]. In the case of the students in University of Regina, recording of audio during an exam can be averted and instead have the students turn on their microphone so they can be fairly monitored live. Each aspect of information collected during the proctoring of the students must be evaluated based on its necessity and sensitivity.

Finally, the principle of curtailing intrusions into spaces or spheres deemed private or personal also needs to be taken into account to maintain students’ privacy during the proctoring of the exam. The location of where the students are being proctored is important as individuals have the right to keep their home or personal space private. This arises the issue of whether students have access to a space where they can write the exam without being forced to show their personal space. If students are not comfortable sharing their private space and do not have access to a location where they can write their exams, then it isthe university’s responsibility to provide appropriate accommodationsto those specific students. Students’ rights to keeping their personal space private must be considered when conducting the proctoring of an exam.


[1] Altman, Irwin. “Privacy regulation: Culturally universal or culturally specific?” Journal of social issues 33.3 (1977): 66–84.

[2] CBC News. 2020. University of Regina students worried anti-cheating software will invade privacy. (September 2020). Retrieved on February 7, 2021 from:

[3] Nissenbaum, Helen. “Privacy as contextual integrity.” Wash. L. Rev. 79 (2004): 119. [4] Palen, Leysia, and Paul Dourish. “Unpacking” privacy” for a networked world.” Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. 2003.

Computer Scientist