[author: Blair Robinson]*
In a case brought against Cleveland State University, a federal court has ruled that it is unconstitutional for a state university to require a student to allow a virtual camera scan of their area of home test during a remote visit. In a case brought against Cleveland State University, a Federal Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for a state university to require a student to allow a virtual camera scan of their area. home test during a remotely proctored exam. The case, Ogletree v. Cleveland State University, came when a student attending university during the pandemic was asked to sweep his camera around his room in which tax documents and medication were also stored, although the resulting video captured nothing sensitive.
The court summarily concluded that the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches applied to the state university and that the privacy interests of the students outweighed the school’s interest in discouraging cheating. . The court, however, left the door open to less intrusive remote monitoring methods, such as locking software and AI that detects suspicious movements.
The move is a vindication for students who have opposed what many see as a theater of safety. As the court acknowledged, enterprising cheaters have a myriad of ways to trick remote monitoring, such as leaving the camera’s line of sight for a dishonest bathroom break. However, by tying its reasoning to the Fourth Amendment rather than a tort invasion of privacy, the court distinguished between the rights of public and private school students. It’s also unclear at this point whether this ruling is limited to universities or whether it would also apply to organizations such as state bar associations and medical boards.
Read the full decision here.