Personal data processing in digital examinations
The main rule is that the same approach is to apply to personal data processing in digital examinations as to ordinary examinations. If the aim of a recording is to provide a basis for assessment or documentation of a compulsory component, recording is permitted. If the students are required to identify themselves and to be watched by invigilators in an ordinary examination, this is also permitted in digital examination.
- Live streaming of examinations and compulsory components
- Recording examinations and compulsory components
- A recording is an official document
When students are assessed, the University processes their personal data on the basis of the legal grounds of public interest, as the examination itself is considered as exercise of public authority.
In the data protection officer’s assessment, the University is permitted to process students’ personal data when they are required to identify themselves by showing ID. However, students are not to be required to show identification if the form of examination is one that does not normally require identification through official ID. If students are to be identified in a digital examination by showing their ID document, there is a risk that their personal identity number could be seen by other students attending the exam, for example. Identification through official ID documents must therefore be done in such a way that other participants cannot see any student’s personal identity number or other unique personal data. It must be emphasised that identification through technical tools that enable facial recognition is not permitted. This type of processing constitutes the processing of sensitive personal data requiring particular legal justification that is not applicable here according to the data protection officer.
Identifying and live streaming students in examinations and compulsory components is permitted if it is necessary. For live streaming for the purposes of invigilation to be deemed necessary, it must actually be an effective tool to achieve the intended outcome. If live streaming for the purposes of invigilation is not deemed to reduce the risk of cheating to any great extent, live streaming is not to be done with this intended outcome.
Decisions on live streaming are necessary and the reason for them are to be specified and documented for each examination.
Live streaming of an examination for the purposes of invigilation can be arranged in a similar way as invigilation of a written exam on site, without any recording of students taking place. This would entail the lecturer or another person invigilating the students’ exam work in real time, during the live connection. The number of people who observe the examination may need to be adapted to each situation. This type of invigilation can be justified by the University on the basis of the Higher Education Act and the General Data Protection Regulation, with reference to public interest to the extent that it is necessary. It is important to inform the students that their personal data will be processed through the digital connection and to inform them that no data will be stored.
Recording students in their home environment is to be considered a serious infringement of their personal privacy and the standards for justifying such a process should be high. The decision as to whether recording is necessary and the reasons for this is to be taken before each examination and documented.
Oral examinations and compulsory components presume that they are individual tests. This circumstance may require them to be documented appropriately. If recording occurs in these cases to obtain necessary documentation of the grounds for examination or assessment of the compulsory component, recording is permitted. It may also be the case that the recording constitutes the basis for the student’s own reflection or discussion. This is also permitted.
In equivalent cases, the recording of students in digital oral examinations or other compulsory components is permitted. In these cases, remember to ask the students before the recording to position themselves in a part of their home that is as neutral as possible, to minimise the infringement of their privacy.
In the data protection officer’s understanding, it is difficult to justify the recording of examinations or compulsory components in other cases, for example for the purposes of providing evidence in a disciplinary matter.
Recordings from oral examinations can be destroyed two years after the examination. If an examination leads to a case on amendment of the grading decision, the recording may be included in the case and if so must be registered and stored as part of the case material. Ensure that the videos are stored in a secure storage location, where access is regulated and no unauthorised destruction is possible.
For questions regarding registration, storage and destruction, please refer to the Records Management office in the Legal and Records Management division, which you will reach by clicking here (opens in the same window).
Lund University has an external Data Protection Officer; Secure State Cyber AB.
The contact person at Secure State Cyber AB is Per Bergstrand and you will reach the contact person via the email address:
dataskyddsombud [at] lu [dot] se