The major textbook company has come under scrutiny from students, parents, and human rights experts for pairing racist and ableist e-proctoring software with its course offerings.
This Wednesday, major textbook company McGraw-Hill was the subject of a Twitter protest for their partnership with controversial e-proctoring software company Proctorio. Over 20 human rights organizations called on the company to stop pairing invasive, racist, and ableist e-proctoring software with its course materials.
Organizations that called for McGraw-Hill to #BanEProctoring included the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law, Mijente, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, NYU’s AI Now Institute, Yale Privacy Lab, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, ParentsTogether, Fight for the Future, and more.
The Council on America-Islamic Relations tweeted: "CAIR is calling on @MHEducation to listen to students and human rights experts and end their relationship with academic spyware company @Proctorio"
Students for Sensible Drug Policy tweeted: "The pandemic is no excuse to disrespect and surveil students with deeply problematic apps such as @Proctorio. Today we call on @MHEducation to immediately end their partnership with #Proctorio and #BanEProctoring."
The founder of X-Lab, an organization focused on the intersection of technology and human rights, tweeted: "Having once worked on @MHEducation’s digital platform, I’m particularly disturbed by their use of @Proctorio – there’s a reason racial justice and human rights groups are sounding the alarm on this disturbing surveillance app."
More tweets are available at BanEProctoring.com or by searching the hashtag #BanEProctoring. During the action day, at least 578 tweets were sent by organizations and their supporters demanding that McGraw-Hill end their partnership with Proctorio.
This day of action comes as McGraw-Hill is considering its partnership with Proctorio. McGraw-Hill agreed to meet with Fight for the Future and ParentsTogether in January, after the organizations delivered a letter from over 2000 concerned parents—as well as 1200 additional emails from concerned citizens in a 24 hour period. During the meeting, McGraw-Hill stated they were unaware of the broad media coverage of concerns about Proctorio, their CEO, and e-proctoring software in general. Further, they stated they had not consulted with any racial justice, privacy, or human rights experts before entering their partnership with Proctorio.
In light of the deep concerns of the experts McGraw-Hill failed to consult, and the mounting interest of legislators, they agreed to consider whether privacy-violating, racist, and ableist technology fit with McGraw-Hill values.
"It has been over a month since McGraw-Hill became aware that they were normalizing a deeply problematic and unjust technology," said Lia Holland (she/they) Campaigns & Communications Director at digital rights organization Fight for the Future. "So far, they have done absolutely nothing to stand up for equity for the most marginalized students they serve. Their inaction is actively harming and traumatizing students in the middle of a global pandemic—the time to act is now. McGraw-Hill had better wake up to the fact that profiting from Proctorio’s technology is a deplorable action, one they are going to be held accountable for."
"Students and parents across the country are increasingly speaking up to say using racist, ablest, and invasive software in schools and universities is unacceptable," said Justin Ruben (he/him), co-director of ParentsTogether. "By endorsing this harmful educational technology, McGraw Hill is holding back equitable access to education for all students."