CALGARY, CANADA (April 20, 2022) – Since inception, Integrity Advocate, a provider of online identity verification and proctoring services, has set itself apart from other products and services by focusing on learner privacy and support needs as a key feature of their offerings. One key aspect promoted by Integrity Advocate is their adherence to Privacy by Design fundamentals and their underlying desire to always protect learner privacy.
Knowing their reputation, the question that comes to mind is “Why doesn't Integrity Advocate offer a Lockdown Browser type product?”, and the short answer we received from their CEO (Robert Day) is simply that “Integrity Advocate would need to address a variety of problems with the current products on the market before we were comfortable with releasing a competitive product and service of our own”.
The “problems” related to Lockdown Browsers (LB) seem to be specific to their design and the level of transparency permitted. The quote “Great design is not just a solution; it is the elimination of the problem.” From M.Cobanli seems to be most applicable here.
Though conversations with Integrity Advocate executives, the following key problems were identified along with potential design solutions that would eliminate the privacy/security related risks faced by learners.
Currently, Lockdown Browsers require the installation of third-party software that is not open for review/inspection/analysis. Learners are expected to simply trust that a third-party organization have their best interest in mind as it relates to their privacy and their device security.
Make the code open source, allow every line to be reviewed scrutinized and analyzed so that the end-user have the understanding that the claims of the third-party software may not be trusted based on face value, but can be verified and confirmed.
Currently, the Lockdown Browser code installed on end user computers allow for “updates” to be pushed to the device to change the access capabilities and invasive nature of the code. It is widely known that malware proliferation is largely due to updates to software, extensions, and plug-ins.
As the only users that are coming back to use the software at a future date will benefit from legitimate code updates, simply have the version of the software checked prior to its use in the future. Do NOT allow code changes to be pushed to user devices under any circumstances, thereby eliminating the risk of malware being added through such an update.
The functionality of Lockdown Browsers can include accessing, transmitting, and collecting any information from a learner’s computer under the excuse that it’s being collected to verify on-computer activities during a learning event.
Require that a lockdown browser simply secures the learners device by restricting activities that are not permitted (accessing other tabs/files/programs/monitors/printers etc.) and collect NO private or personal information.
Many Lockdown Browsers require changes to the learner’s device security features to operate as intended, without restoring the device post event.
Simply do not incorporate into the design. Do not give the Lockdown Browser the capability or necessity to make changes to a learner’s security settings.
After considering all the problems that would need to be addressed for a Lockdown Browser to be offered by Integrity Advocate, it is easy to speculate that such a product would never come to life. After all, the required solutions indicated would mean that the product would have to be painstakingly engineered only to have its code completely accessible by not only learners but also competitors and the lack of data collection would result in an inability to increase any commercial value through the aggregation of data.
To all these points, Integrity Advocate is announcing in the weeks to come, exciting development that will allow for even greater integrity controls to be accessible to organizations without the expected addition of privacy violations and support requests normally associated with Lockdown Browser solutions on the market today. Many are watching carefully to see how Integrity Advocate can further increase the academic integrity of online assessments without compromising the privacy of learners.