ATP Submits Comments to European Data Protection Board

Test publishers cite concerns over proposed video surveillance restrictions

On July 10, 2019 the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) released for public comment its Guidelines on processing of personal data through video devices.  The EDPB, which is an independent European legal body that contributes to the consistent application of data protection rules throughout the European Union and promotes cooperation between supervisory authorities, stated that it would accept comments until September 9th. 

ATP General Counsel Alan Thiemann reported that the testing industry has a number of concerns with the Guidelines which were highlighted in comments  submitted by ATP.  He said that ATP is urging the EDPB to take into consideration video surveillance is used to level the playing field to equalize a fair testing opportunity for all test takers.  ATP’s comments focused on such issues as test administration requirements, the monitoring of test takers, and the key purposes of surveillance in a proctoring situation as well as issues related to records retention and data collection.

As noted in the comments, "ATP respects the goals of the Guidelines to ensure that individual privacy is protected as much as possible when video surveillance is used. However, we strongly believe that there are specific circumstances common in the testing industry where video surveillance is both appropriate and necessary, where its use is justified when balanced against the rights of individual test takers, and where this technology should be allowed within the constraints of the GDPR."  The ATP comments contain a high level overview of the many and varied instances in which video surveillance is both "appropriate and necessary" within the testing and assessment industry.  [ATP members can download both the complete Guidelines and the complete ATP comments under Legal/Legislative Updates in the Members Only area of the website.]

Thiemann noted that the next step will be to initiate a dialogue between ATP and the EDP Board, which is composed of the heads of the Supervisory Authorities (SA) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) or their representatives. "We hope that they recognize the important issues outlined in the comments as they relate to the testing industry."